A psychiatric nurse offers care and support to patients who suffer from mental health issues. These problems can include depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia, addiction, depression, psychosis, dementia, personality disorders, or physical or sexual abuse. The psychiatric nurse holds one of the most stressful and demanding RN jobs. This career is not for everyone. However, many psychiatric nurses find that the rewards of this job outweigh the drawbacks.
Psychiatric nurses may work at hospitals, mental health facilities, outpatient services, health departments, and long-term care centers. The psychiatric nurse must analyze the mental health of the patient and establish a plan for nursing care. They then administer the plans and monitor the results throughout treatment.
Psychiatric nurses work intensely with patients to help them improve or regain their life skills in the “real world”, such as how to conduct one’s own hygienic care or other day-to-day tasks. These nurses create a calm, therapeutic environment in order to encourage and assist patients. They may also work in crisis intervention and offer counseling services.
The psychiatric nurse not only works with patients, but also offers support and education to the families of patients. In addition, some psychiatric nurses may work on a broader level with community mental health programs.
Psychiatric nurses can specialize and work with specific groups of patients, including but not limited to children, teens, adults, the elderly, those with eating disorders or substance abuse issues, and those in need of forensic psychiatry.
A psychiatric nurse career, like all other RN jobs, requires nursing school graduation and an RN credential. In addition, psychiatric nurses need training in psychological therapies, dealing with challenging behavior, building a therapeutic alliance, and medication for psychiatric issues. Finally, psychiatric nurses must pass an exam that gives them certification to practice in their state. Salary for a psychiatric nurse varies greatly based on education and experience.