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What psychology related jobs are there that can work in the hospital and with children?

I am 16 and currently a junior in high school. I have always wanted to do something that involves kids, and mental health. I have been doing a lot of research on different jobs and I don't know what I should do. I would like to work as someone who advocates in mental health (preferably psychology) and I would also like to work in a hospital setting. That being said, I don't know how many other jobs there are for psychology in a hospital other than ones that work at inpatients. I do want to go into psychology, and I don't exactly know where to start. Should I look at community colleges or find one that works more towards that career path? psychology career children hospital

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Priya’s Answer

Hi Carly, there are jobs for mental health professionals in hospitals, but where I am I have seen them be primarily crisis work with adults. There are other settings you can work with kids in mental health outside of hospitals as well, if that interests you. You are still young, so I think just continue exploring your interests, volunteer at a hospital nearby or a county hospital and see what you can find out, and look into programs of interest for you in college. You can definitely start out at a community college, but will most likely need to transfer to university to finish out your degree and higher education (masters or doctorate, etc.) Community college can be a great place for you to try out psychology classes and see how you feel. And if another major interests you, you can do that, too! A colleague and friend of mine from my program majored in early childhood development, I believe, and went into my program to do counseling for children. You have time to explore your options before and in college so good luck! Great work being here and asking the questions you have!
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Tonya’s Answer

Great question.

There is such a need for people with your interest to help children with their mental health needs. Based on your interest, one option to is become a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). As a PHMNP you could work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, ambulatory clinics, group homes, virtual/tele-medicine, and more.

I noticed you live in Illinois and did a quick search to find that the University of Illinois Chicago has a PMHNP program you can read more about (see website reference below). This does not mean I recommend the program but is an opportunity for you to see what is available in your state. Please note you and others who read my reply can also look at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) for more about the specialty and nursing schools with this type of specialty.

Please note, there are different types of nursing schools such as basic/generic nursing program where you are working towards your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and study to become a Registered Nurse (RN). You could also enter a Bachelor of Science program (non-nursing specialty) and then apply for an accelerated nursing program where you can study for your Master of Science in Nursing in your specialty of interest.

Since you have a clear vision of your interest, you can contact nursing schools and APNA for more information. This will provide you the opportunity to find out more information from the experts in the field. The reason for using these resources is to avoid miss information such as, one must become an LPN before becoming an RN (this in not true), or unaware of accelerated nursing programs and the requirements.

For further information on nursing in Illinois visit the Illinois Nursing Workforce Center (see reference below). Other states offer similar information if you type in “Nursing in (enter state name) ”. Then look for a site that ends in “.gov” for official information.

All the very best.

References:

Illinois:
*University of Illinois Chicago- Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
Website: https://nursing.uic.edu/programs/doctor-nursing-practice/dnp-focus-areas/psychiatric-mental-health-np/

*Illinois Nursing Workforce Center at http://nursing.illinois.gov/.

Psychiatric – Mental Health Nursing Resources:
*American Psychiatric Nurses Association: Home
Website: https://www.apna.org/

*American Psychiatric Nurses Association: About Graduate Programs
https://www.apna.org/resources/about-graduate-programs/

Nursing School Resources:
* American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2021). Find Accredited Programs. https://www.aacnnursing.org/CCNE-Accreditation/Overview-of-Accreditation/Find-Accredited-Programs

* Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (2020). Search ACEN Accredited Nursing Programs.
http://www.acenursing.com/accreditedprograms/programsearch.htm
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Marcia’s Answer

Hi,
I would recommend social work. You learn a lot about psychology and there are many more pathways for jobs with a Masters in Social Work within hospitals and in other settings. In your hometown, Aurora University (aurora.edu) has a very strong Social Work program. You can earn a bachelors degree and a masters degree in social work in 5 years, so it's very cost-effective. In the state of Illinois, social workers are highly-regarded as a profession, which opens up a lot of opportunities. Good luck!
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Vivian’s Answer

You can become a school psychologist which isn't in a hospital, but I think you might be interested to do some more research. This job requires a Master's degree in School Psychology. However, this position typically requires a lot of data and testing and school psychologists work with mostly special needs students and school personnel like counselors, administration, and of course families. Another job you might be interested in is a play therapist (also in the realm of psychology) and can work in different environments.
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