The psychiatric nurse is responsible for providing care for people who have severe mental disorders. He may provide nursing services to patients in their homes, in the agency office, or at the community sites. Although the psychiatric nurse’s role is similar with any other registered nurse or caregiver, there is a special level of skill required to care for those with psychiatric needs.
Generally, a psychiatric nurse provides care and support for patients with mental disabilities. It is part of his duty to evaluate the needs of their patients as well as administer treatments and therapies. He also helps in developing care plans in response to the needs of their individual patients.
Duties and Responsibilities
Psychiatric nurses work with doctors to develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for each patient. These nurses ensure that this plan provides relief and functionality to all patients. They care for patients experiencing acute mental distress.
A psychiatric nurse assesses a patient’s problems and discusses the best way to plan and deliver care. He builds relationships with patients and encourages trust. It is his responsibility to respond to distressed patients in a non-threatening manner and try to understand the source of the problem.
He provides evidence-based individual therapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy for depression and anxiety. A psychiatric nurse works with patients’ families and helps educating them about their mental health problems.
As any other nurses, a psychiatric nurse may take a support role and still be well-versed in patient care for a variety of different mental disabilities and dysfunctions. He must be flexible and fit to provide fast and efficient nursing care even for dangerous patients.
These nurses also contribute to preparing and organizing social events aimed at developing patients’ social skills.
Education and Skills
To become a psychiatric nurse, candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Other related courses may also be a stepping stone for a career in nursing. He must also get a license as a registered nurse. A master’s degree in nursing is certainly an advantage and a step for career advancement. Most of these nurses continue with their education to be updated in their field.
There may be additional training required depending on the health care facility he’s involved in. Psychiatric nurses should be knowledgeable in patient care, diagnosis, and have the ability to deal with many mental disabilities.
To be successful in this field, a psychiatric nurse must be able to demonstrate the ability to deal with various types of mental disabilities. And to do that, he must have exceptional skills and specific personality traits. Strong experience within any type of psychiatric environment can increase the chances of advancement or higher compensation.
A psychiatric nurse must be patient and determined to help his patients. He must be a team player and painstaking in his treatment of patients.
Work Conditions and Salary
The typical working environment for a psychiatric nurse is at a psychiatric hospital. He may also serve other types of medical facilities or as part of a mental health agency or health department.
Working in a psychiatric environment can be very stressful since patients require a high degree of care and constant supervision. Psychiatric nurses may occasionally work longer shifts and more than the typical number of shifts.
The salary of a psychiatric nurse varies depending on the size of the hospital and specific of duties. The average annual income of this type of nurse is around $61,565. In some instances, this nurse can be paid on an hourly basis.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/