Psychiatric nurses serve patients with all types of mental and emotional disorders. In order to do this, a psychiatric nurse has to have a variety of special skills, and be able to multitask in a fast-moving, high stress environment. Since there is plenty of demand and it’s growing steadily, the necessity of psychiatric nurses should continue into the foreseeable future.
Primary Duties of a Psychiatric Nurse
Naturally, the working environment and employer will determine a psychiatric nurse’s duties. Often, they work under psychiatrists, psychologists or other doctors. Among the nurse’s responsibilities are determining the needs of particular patients, meeting with supervising doctors to determine patient care plans, and directly treat the patients. The difference between a psychiatric nurse lies not in their responsibilities, but in the fact that their patients often suffer from mental disorders. Especially when it concerns potentially suicidal patients, psychiatric nurses often need to deal with and defuse critical situations.
In order to be a psychiatric nurse, one needs a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited institution, as well as relevant licensing. With that in mind, additional training and ongoing education will also come with the territory, especially with regard to progressing in one’s career.
If a nurse chooses to become a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, one needs to attain an MSN or Masters of Science in nursing degree. These types of nurses can have their own practices, and can often prescribe medicine and admit patients.
Pay Scale and Job Outlook
Psychiatric nurses earn a median salary of $62,253 per year. Naturally, this depends on the nurse’s amount of experience, the place where they work, where they are located and their employer. As well as earning a respectable salary, psychiatric nurses are able to earn benefits like medical insurance, retirement contributions, and paid vacation days.
Since mental disorders are receiving more credibility from the medical establishment, the amount of treatment necessary is growing. This is contributing to plenty of opportunity growth for psychiatric nurses across the board. As well, there are opportunities for these nurses to function in supervisory capacities.
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