A psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner (ARNP) is a registered nurse who holds a master’s degree in nursing with a specialization in psychiatric nursing. To become a psychiatric nurse practitioner requires a minimum of 6 years of education, part of which includes hands-on didactic training. A national certification exam administered by the American Nurse Credentialing Center must be passed, and state licensing must be obtained before a psychiatric nurse practitioner may legally practice. Psychiatric ARNPs generally work under a supervising psychiatric physician; however, some states allow ARNPs to work independently. The work of a psychiatric nurse practitioner generally includes performing a mental health assessment, diagnosing mental health disorders, prescribing psychiatric medications as indicated, facilitating talk and group therapy, and following and managing patients over their life span. Psychiatric nurse practitioners may work with a variety of patient populations, including pediatric, adult and elderly clients. Practice settings can include inpatient and outpatient mental health clinics, hospital-based psychiatric units, state-run mental health hospitals, jails and prisons, as well as private practice psychiatric offices. Working conditions can include contact with mentally unstable persons and persons with violent tendencies. Working hours are generally weekdays, but may include nights, weekends and holidays as needed. Psychiatric nurse practitioners must be aware of the state and national laws regarding privacy and reporting, as well as the holding of suicidal and dangerous persons. They may also work with social services and other caregivers to promote patient care. A calm, understanding demeanor and genuine desire to help others is a must. With the increased awareness of mental health, the role of the psychiatric nurse practitioner has increased.
Psychiatric Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) Tasks
- Prescribe medication.
- Provide staff and family consultation around medication and other clinical concerns.
- Perform group/individual therapy, assessments and evaluations.
- Facilitate communication between psychiatric services, programs and care givers.
- Handle ongoing medical management of patients.