How To Become A Psychiatric Nurse
A psychiatric nurse is a type of registered nurse (RN) who provides mental health care to patients who have complex mental health problems. They work in many different facilities such as hospitals, psychiatric offices, and community health centers. A psychiatric nurse is able to provide diagnostic care and treatment, focusing on mental health maintenance. In order to be a psychiatric nurse, you need a master’s degree and certification within the field.
Why Become A Psychiatric Nurse
Mental health is a very important field. There are alarming rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide, not only in the United States but around the world. Psychiatrists are the medical profession that is second highest in demand. Many people seek out mental health care providers, but there are not always enough doctors to meet the demand. Psychiatric nurses are in high demand to be a part of the mental health care team.
Psychiatric nurses perform a wide range of duties, including taking a medical history of the patient; interviewing the patient about their symptoms; assessing the patient for mental illnesses and for risk; and making a diagnosis, based upon the conversation and evidence shown. Psychiatric nurses work with patients with all types of mental health disorders.
They often work with patients who are suicidal, self-harm, or engage in other harmful behaviors. They provide counseling to patients, both individually and in groups. They help develop goals and a patient care plan, and track progress of patients.
This is a good career for somebody who loves nursing, is passionate about mental health, and wants to work directly with patients.
Psychiatric Nurse should have the following qualities and skills:
- Good communicator
- Physical fitness
- Critical thinker
- Detail oriented
- Organization skills
Psychiatric Nurse Work Environment
Psychiatric nurses work in various facilities, such as psychiatrist offices, mental health clinics, hospitals, community health centers, residential care facilities, and other similar places. A psychiatric nurse works with patients with various mental illnesses. There is always some risk involved when working as a nurse. Some patients may have suicidal tendencies or engage in other risky behaviors.
They must follow strict guidelines and procedures in order to care for their patients, and make sure they do not cause harm to themselves or others. This is a full-time job. Psychiatric nurses often need to rotate their schedules. They often need to work night hours or on the weekends.
Psychiatric Nurse Salary
The median annual salary for registered nurses was $68,450 in 2016, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This category includes psychiatric nurses.
Nurses can work in a variety of different environments. The industry that a nurse works in can affect their pay. Psychiatric nurses who work for hospitals, mental health clinics, or government branches tend to make the highest salaries. On the other end of the spectrum, those who choose to work inside of nursing homes, residential care facilities, or educational centers tend to make less than average.
Psychiatric Nurse Career Outlook
Employment for psychiatric nurses is expected to grow by 15 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than other career fields in the United States. Nursing is a high demand field and will continue to be such.
Health care will always be a necessary field. In recent years, people have become more aware of mental health and its importance. More people are seeking assistance for their mental health challenges. Psychiatric nurses will play an important role in helping patients receive both long-term and short-term care. Because of new health care laws, health care will be more readily available to the population. Nurses are necessary to work as part of the health care team and help treat patients.
Psychiatric Nurse Degree
If you would like to become a psychiatric nurse, read below for more information.
Step 1: Undergraduate education. The first step is to receive a bachelor’s degree in nursing. In your program, you will take classes in anatomy, physiology, biology, nutrition, chemistry, psychology, medical terminology, and other similar classes. If you would like to work as a psychiatric nurse, be sure to take classes that focus on mental health. You will also get the opportunity to do clinical work. This is a good way to figure out if nursing is the right path for you. It takes four years to receive a bachelor’s degree.
Step 2: NCLEX Certification: All states require that nurses be certified in order to practice. You must pass the NCLEX examination. Once you pass this exam, you are officially licensed as a nurse and can begin working in a clinical environment with patients.
Step 3: Graduate school. It is required to receive a master’s in nursing in order to become a psychiatric nurse. In graduate programs, you will take advanced coursework that focuses on mental health. Coursework includes health assessments, types of mental illness, individual and family therapy and counseling, mental health maintenance, pharmacology, and more. You will work in a clinical environment with patients. It takes an additional two years to receive your master’s degree.