Psychiatric nurses (RN) provide specialized care to individuals with mental disorders. They may be home care nurses or work in mental health facilities or psychiatric hospitals, working with individuals, groups, and loved ones. Some psychiatric nurses specialize in a specific area of expertise based on age and/or disorder. Depending on their employer, the psychiatric nurse may need to diagnosis illness, start a treatment plan for the patient, maintain health records, and help find therapeutic ways for the patient to manage their mental illness. In addition, most nurses provide information to patients and their loved ones, help prepare patients for therapy, and deliver community education.
Psychiatric nurses' shifts may vary depending on the needs of their institution and their specific position; this may include days, nights, weekends, and/or holidays. Some nurses may have patients with violent episodes and must be physically able to restrain them without injuring themselves or patients. They also need to be able to understand patients' needs, be patient, have good communication skills, and be able to work well under pressure. Additionally, psychiatric nurses also need to be able to explain information and issues effectively to family, friends, and the community when explaining mental illness-related issues.
Psychiatric nurses (RN) must be registered nurses, which requires a minimum of an associate's degree in nursing and relevant certification; however, additional education (such as a bachelor's or master's degree) may be preferred or required as well. In addition, relevant experience may be needed or preferred. Generally, these nurses receive on-the-job training related to the specific needs and policies of their position.
Psychiatric Nurse (RN) Tasks
- Compile and evaluate medical history and mental health findings.
- Facilitate communication between psychiatric services, programs and care givers.
- Initiate, monitor and recommend medications and treatment changes.
- Manage caseload and documentation.
- Provide comprehensive assessment of patient.