Psychiatric nurses work with individuals and families who have different mental health disorders. These issues include things like depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis and dementia.
- Assessing mental health needs
- Developing nursing care plans
- Helping patients regain or improve coping abilities
- Managing the therapeutic environment
- Assisting patients
- Administering and monitoring treatment regiments
- Crisis intervention and counseling
Psychiatric nurses can work in hospitals, outpatient facilities, health departments, mental health agencies or at long-term care centers. Most institutions offer 24 hour care so shift work is very typical, with most nurses working around 37.5 hours a week.
Psychiatric nurses must be official registered nurses. Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees (BSNs) are preferred, but it's also acceptable to begin the career with an associate's degree through a hospital-based training program. Specific training in psychological therapy is needed to help you deal with challenging behavior and to teach you how to administer psychiatric medication. After gaining on-the-job experience, you can take the exam to become certified in psychiatric and mental health nursing.
The demand for psychiatric nurses is expected to increase drastically over the next ten years. The more training, certifications, and experience a nurse has, the more demand there will be for her skills. The health care industry is booming so many incentive are available to home health nurses to help students pay back their nursing college loans.
The average annual salary can range anywhere from $48,927 to $91,000 annually. Salary is dependent on the type of facility, level of education, and job experience.