Gentle Readers, I don't want to start a "war," however I have a question that some might find provocative. Nonetheless, I need some advice. I am especially interested in hearing from psychiatrists, psychiatry residents, and psych nurses. I am interested in mental health as a second career and I am about to apply to several advanced practice psych nursing programs - it would be helpful to see what folks in the professiion have to say about my plan. A little background: I am in my very early forties and I left my last profession (the wine business, where I worked for almost 20 years as a sommelier, taster, buyer and manager) four years ago and enrolled at a prestigious west coast university that will award me a degree in microbiology in a few short months. My academic credential are good (decent GPA, published research in radiation biology) and I have experience working in healthcare (worked for a psychiatrist taking hx of workers comp pts, many hours volunteering at a free clinic as an MA and phlebotomist). In all candor I would like to be a psychiatrist, however the length of training at this point in my life is not realistic (for me, I know others have done it). So I am thinking of advanced practice psych nursing - either NP or CNS. I think this might be a good fit for me because I love working with psych patients (they are interesting), even though "progress" in mental health is often measured in small increments I like the feeling of helping people make progress, I am attracted to the bio-psychosocial model of treatment (ie I know I would not be happy as an MFT or PhD, working only in realm of psychodynamics). I envision working in a hospital or community health setting and perhaps doing a little teaching or research at some point in my career. I am a pretty good manager and I suspect that I may find myself in a managerial role at some point. I am, however, a little concerned about the level of respect that advanced practice psych nurses receive in the profession. In your experience, are they respected? For those with prescriptive authority, have you observed that the Psych NP's with whom you have worked are adequately trained to competently prescribe? Please note I would like to hear from prescribers on this, again I dont want to start a war and I dont really care what you all "feel" about this contentious issue, I would like to know what you have observed. Do they actually manage the care of patients or do they primarily ensure that a treatment plan developed by the docs is implemented? What do those of you who are MD's DO's and nurses think about about my plan? Thank you.