A registered psychiatric nurse (RPN) works in the mental health care field. RPN licensing and certification is awarded and recognized in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; in the United States, the RPN is not a recognized certification, but individuals with an RPN interested in psychiatric nursing in the U.S. have a fairly short path to certification as a registered nurse (RN), with which they can work in the field.
The specialized field of care for the RPN involves taking care of people with psychiatric and mental disabilities or disorders. These nurses are normally employed in a hospital environment. They work with patients to help improve their quality of life and assist with regular functions of everyday life such as eating and bathing. The RPN supports doctors and psychiatrists in executing a diagnosis and treatment plan as well, which includes properly administering all medications and drug therapy as required. To assist a doctor’s treatment plan for the patient, they must have a caring and nurturing manner. They will also need to have the ability to work long hours, in environments that may be stressful. RPN’s can expect to work a variety of shifts and hours, and, early on in this career track, overnight and late night hours may be expected.
RPN certification requires the completion of required training at an accredited secondary technical or medical college. Registered psychiatric nurses may also be required to have some experience in smaller hospitals or clinics before being hired by larger hospitals or health care providers. For an RPN to work with psychiatric patients in the U.S., it is normally necessary to acquire RN certification; the time frame on this may be as short as a single year of education and testing.
Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) Tasks
- Implement care plans, treating patients, and counseling families.
- Provide immediate and long-term care options and plans to patients and their caretakers or family.
- Evaluate and assess patient mental and physical health through multiple examination methods.
- Administer medications and other treatments.