Psychiatric nurses are valued members of an intricate mental health team. This profession allows you to work closely with people who have psychiatric illnesses and mental health conditions, such as depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety. If you enjoy counseling people, this rewarding career could be right for you.
Education Requirements for Psychiatric Nursing
To become a psychiatric nurse, you will need to meet specific requirements that are unique to this specialty. Psychiatric nurses deal with patients who have mental health conditions, and they need to be taught proper procedure on how to deal with certain situations. To become a nurse in this sector, you will need to obtain either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Either degree allows you to sit for the NCLEX-RN examination.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association offers many courses pertaining to mental health nursing. Many RNs pursing this specialty find that additional education helps with job placement and security. This organization also has an updated job posting section where many RNs can find employment opportunities.
Psychiatric Nurse Certification
A board certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) provides certification for psychiatric nurses. If you are qualified and meet eligibility requirements, then you can earn a title of Registered Nurse – Board Certified (RN-BC) in the areas of psychiatric and mental health nursing. To take the examination, you must hold an active RN license, work for 2 years as a registered nurse, have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in mental health or psychiatric nursing, and have at least 30 continuing education hours in this field.
Psychiatric Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries
The average salary for a psychiatric nurse varies, and is anywhere from $52,000 to $71,000 per year, according to most web sources. The annual pay depends on your location of practice, education and degree level, and also your experience in the field.
Many psychiatric nurses are employed in mental healthcare facilities, psychiatric hospitals, and outpatient centers. Most hospitals have a mental health unit and employ these professionals. There is not a huge demand for psychiatric nurses, so finding employment may be challenging.
Job Duties of the Psychiatric Nurse
A psychiatric nurse is responsible for completing daily tasks and also other duties throughout the day. Some of the duties include monitoring vital signs, supervising nurses, giving medications, and performing diagnostic tests. Sometimes, the nurse may be responsible for counseling the family and also speaking with the patient. It is important to be very understanding and helpful when dealing with families and people with psychiatric disorders.