Psychiatric nursing is a specialty that involves caring for people with mental illnesses and distresses, such as psychosis, dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression. This specialty involves the practice of nursing by utilizing care plans and seeking to care for the whole person, with an emphasis on the development of a therapeutic relationship.
Psychiatric nurses seek to care for the acute or chronic mental health of their patients. They work with individuals, families, and groups in medical and community environments. They strive to establish a therapeutic relationship with patients in order to engage them in a positive and collaborative way. These types of nurses perform duties like assessing mental health needs, developing diagnosis, creating a plan for nursing care, carrying out that plan, and evaluating care. Psychiatric nurses assist with patient interventions, which are conducted to promote health, assess dysfunction, improve coping skills, and prevent further illness. During the intervention process, nurses may help with managing a therapeutic environment, assisting patients’ with self care, administering and monitoring treatments, and counseling.
Psychiatric nurses need to have a strong desire to help people and develop relationships with them. They must have excellent communication skills and know how to be tactful, patient, and understanding with patients. Given the nature of the work environment, psychiatric nurses need to demonstrate emotional stability, know how to work as a team, and not mind performing routine duties. Psychiatric nurses work in a variety of inpatient and outpatient environments like hospitals, mental health agencies, community-based programs, primary care offices, private practices, and behavioral care companies.
To become a psychiatric nurse, you must first be a registered nurse, and then seek additional training in psychological therapies, administration of psychiatric medicine, therapeutic relationships, and how to deal with challenging behavior. This can typically be completed through continuing education, elective classes, or clinical study. You should also try to gain job experience nursing in the area of mental health. To become a Certified Psychiatric Nurse, you will have to pass an examination from a credentialing organization, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Those interested in advancing in this field can become an advanced practice registered nurse by earning a master’s in psychiatric-mental health nursing. Advance nurses in psychiatry can take a more active role in their patients’ care by being able to independently diagnose and treat them. They can also sub-specialize in psychiatric areas like Substance Abuse, Gero-psychiatric Nursing, Forensics, and Child-Adolescent Mental Health Nursing.