Job Requirements: Care for patients diagnosed with mental illness and work with their families to support recovery.
Education Requirements: Registered Nurse who has passed the National Council Licensure Examination. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners have had experience in the field and obtained a masters degree in nursing.
Work Locations: Psychiatric hospitals, mental health clinics, correctional facilities, private practice
Salary: $41,000 – $55,000 for RNs and up to $95,000 for Practitioners
Psychiatric Nurses develop important relationships with their patients that in many cases can be long-term as they assist with care over years of treatment. In this role, the personal connection, communication and respect between the nurse and patient can mean all the difference in the outcome of the healthcare plan.
Quality of care and well-being of patients is of the utmost importance to a nurse in this field. As patients trust their nurse’s dedication to their recovery, they’ll communicate more effetively, providing information that can help you advocate for them and assist physicians with feedback on treatment plans.
Psychiatric nurses understand the state of mind of patients struggling with mental illness and step in when necessary to provide motivation and support when needed through ongoing calls, emails and visits. This personal touch can be so critial to someone who is alone in their recovery and needs that personal connection as a source of energy to keep moving forward.
In addition to adminstering of medication and recording vitals, this nursing speciality field requires communication with the patient’s family as well. Information about the type of mental illness will need to be explained along with letting them know what to expect and how to react to specific situations. The nurse can also play the role of a coach to the family and give suggestions on how to participate in the healing and ways to provide support.
Mentally ill patients often feel that their issues are low priority or not taken seriously. This stigma can leave many people to stuggle on their own or not seek additional treatment when needed. For this reason, nurses put in the extra effort to make sure that the patient is taken seriously and that their recovery is important.
A nurse in this field will show no prejudice to a patient’s life situation whether the person is homeless, not homeless, intoxicated or perfectly clean. The focus is always on the healing, even for those who battle recurring issues.
If you have an interest in being in a patient-facing nurse with increased responsibilty to follow-up and track patients as well as work with their families, this could be a great role. While extremely challenging, the successes are worth the investment of time and effort.