Psychiatric nursing is the specialty of nursing that cares for all types of people who are enduring either mental distress or mental illness. Nursing programs that teach psychiatric nursing are sure to stress that diseases of the mind such as dementia, depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are all just some of the various types of illnesses that psychiatric nurses have to deal with as they tackle nurse jobs of this type. The kind of training that a nurse in this type of nursing career receives includes psychological therapy, knowledge about a therapeutic alliance, tackling problematic behavior and administering psychiatric medication.
What to Expect
A nurse who works as a psychiatric nurse approaches his or her job in one of two ways: the basic level or the advanced level. As some nursing programs teach at the basic level, a psychiatric nurse works in partnership with patients, families, communities and groups, all the while assessing mental health needs, coming up with a nursing diagnosis and a plan for their nursing care. Their role also requires them to actually implement their psychiatric care plan and then evaluate the quality of care that they have administered to the patient. In this way, psychiatric nurses are working with established nursing models, learned from online LPN programs, online RN programs, an LPN program or an RN program, to provide care for the whole person.
Since the role of a psychiatric nurse is a specialty within nursing occupations, it is not uncommon for psychiatric nursing to mandate that nurses have Master’s Degrees in psychiatric and mental health nursing. Because of their relatively high level of education, psychiatric nurses often assume the roles of either a nurse practitioner or a clinical nurse specialist. Nurses who have already earned a Master’s Degree in this specialized field of nursing can go on to even higher degrees of certification. For instance, they can go on to get doctoral degrees like PhD’s; as such, psychiatric nurses can also be professors, agency administrators, hospital administrators, graduate program administrators or researchers.
The field of psychiatric nursing is large enough that nurses can even choose subspecialties. Psychiatric nurses are able to choose subspecialties like child-adolescent mental health nursing, substance abuse nursing, forensics nursing or even gero-psychiatric nursing. Some nurses in this line of work can even specialize in acting as liaisons. They can act as healthcare providers who offer a consultation to people who are experiencing either psychiatric issues or physical illnesses; they can also offer a consultation to said people’s primary caregiver.
The salary levels for psychiatric nurses are quite varied, and they depend largely on the amount of education that they have achieved. Basic-level psychiatric nurses can usually depend on starting with a salary that is in the neighborhood of $35,000 to $40,000 each year. Psychiatric nurses who earn themselves a Master’s Degree can count on a yearly salary in the neighborhood of about $60,000 or even a little bit more. If a psychiatric nurse is a member of a faculty, he or she can expect to earn at least $65,000, and if the psychiatric nurse happens to be a nurse executive, that is where the real money is made, as he or she can earn at least $100,000 per year. Factors such as the years of experience that a nurse possesses, his or her geographic place of employment, and the size of the agency or the hospital in which he or she works are all criteria for determining how much money a psychiatric nurse gets in a year.
The duties of a psychiatric nurse are varied and diverse. They are called on to work in tandem with doctors on the staff to come up with a treatment plan for the patients, and these professional nurses have to make certain that this plan does provide some relief and improvement for the patient in question. Sometimes, a psychiatric nurse can be called on to work in support roles, as those who have taken online nursing programs may learn, but this does not mean that they do not have to be well-versed in their field of specialty. They will still be expected to administer both efficient and competent nursing care for patients that can get hazardous from time to time. Their line of work can also take them into suicide watch and prevention tasks, as when they have to tackle crisis prevention and management issues for patients who are in need of special observation.
The industry of psychiatric nursing is in a period of growth because an increasing number of hospitals and other types of healthcare facilities support different levels of mental disabilities, which in turn contributes to a greater share of job openings in the field. In addition, the role of a psychiatric nurse is in a subspecialty of nursing that has a particular degree of demand. There is a lot of opportunity for getting ahead in this sector of nursing, as many nursing schools will inform their students. The nature of this specialty within nursing is such that a psychiatric nurse has the luxury of choosing to work comfortably in this job for his or her whole career, though he or she can also opt to work hard to be promoted to a supervisory role in this field.
The job of a psychiatric nurse can be dangerous, supportive, challenging and given to a lot of career mobility—it is all of these. A psychiatric nurse is concerned with providing or helping to provide therapy that works with the patient to improve his or her state of mind and being. Nursing education is important in this specialty area of nursing because it is a complicated job that requires a lot of knowhow and the right training to be able to perform the various duties. Accordingly, the opportunity for relatively high salaries exists in this nursing field, and there is a direct relationship between a higher salary and a higher degree that a psychiatric nurse holds. Because this nursing occupation is in the healthcare field, it automatically will have a fairly high demand in future years.
To discover more about psychiatric nursing, check these links:
- All About Psychiatric Nurses
- Brief Definition of Psychiatric Nurse
- Background of Psychiatric Nurse
- Psychiatric Nursing Website
- American Journal of Psychiatry
- BLS: Nursing and Psychiatric Aides
- Mental Health Nursing Explained
- What does a Psychiatric Nurse do?