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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Duties

A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner works with patients who are in need of mental health assistance. The nurse practitioner also works alongside their family and in some cases employers and communities to lay out and detail the mental health care plan for the patient to make sure it is followed for the best treatment care for the patient. A psychiatric nurse practitioner can do many of the duties that a psychiatrist can for the patient.

To become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner must go through at least six years of post-secondary education before they are fully educated and qualified to work. They must also pass a licensing exam before they can work in private practice or for a hospital or other health care agency. The first step in becoming a mental health nurse practitioner is for the individual to get their bachelor of science degree in nursing to achieve register nurse status. It would be a good idea for them to take their electives, concentrations and study lessons in subjects relating to psychiatric care. After earning their bachelor’s degree and passing the licensing test to become a registered nurse, the student must complete a master’s degree or doctorate degree in mental health nursing to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners can treat everyone from children to adults, depending on their concentration. They can work in a primary care facility, outpatient mental health clinic, hospital emergency room or hospital psychiatric ward, private practice or community health center. Mental health nurse practitioners can counsel and diagnose patients who have mental health issues. They can also prescribe medications and other forms of treatment as needed for their patients. Psychiatric nurse practitioners also act as consultants for families and friends about what they can do to help the patient. They are also certified to provide emergency mental health care, psychosocial and physical examinations, treatment plans and to manage patient care.

Like with other nursing positions, there is a nationwide shortage of health care workers so the job outlook for this position looks strong. Because it is a specialized area there will be fewer job openings for a psychiatric nurse practitioners than there would be for general nurse practitioners or even registered nurses. The salary range for mental health nurse practitioners is one of the highest in the nursing world. Mental health nurse practitioners earn an average yearly salary of $60,000 or more each year.