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A Career in Psychiatric Nursing

Aug 17, 2007
What is Psychiatric nursing?

Psychiatric nursing is a flexible profession, which involves the application of expertise that evolves out of a wide range of knowledge and addresses many concerns. Not all mentally challenged patients receive sufficient medical care and support from family and friends, to help in effectively conveying the illness to the medical establishment. These patients have impaired ability to process information.

Psychiatric nursing is ideal to help reorganize relationships and nursing responses. The nurse is required to be engaged and self-directed in the on-going professional development. It is the responsibility of the nurse to practice leadership within the paradigms of the profession and the community at large.

Levels Of Education In Psychiatric Nursing

Clinical practice of psychiatric nursing takes place at two levels.

-Basic: At this level, registered nurses work with families, individuals, communities and groups. They diagnose the mental ability and define the nursing plan. They are also responsible for putting the plan into practice and assessing the nursing care.

-Advanced: At the advanced level, psychiatric nursing requires nurses to possess Masters Degrees in Psychiatric Nursing. They take the role of Nurse Practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist. They evaluate, diagnose and treat families and individuals with psychiatric disorders and problems. These nurses work as researchers, professors with private agencies and programs and hospital administrators.

There are a number of programs available to pursue a career in psychiatric nursing. A two-year program for an associate degree in nursing, a hospital based three-year diploma in nursing and a university four-year bachelors degree in psychiatric nursing are just some of the available options. All graduates are eligible for the registered nurse license.

A degree in advanced practice registered nursing makes a person eligible to specialize in Forensics or Substance Abuse, Gero-psychiatric Nursing and Child-Adolescent Mental Health Nursing. There are few who specialize in consolation liaison, where they can counsel people who suffer from physical illnesses or suffer from psychiatric problems.

Many debates have been sparked over the relationship between the psychiatric patient and nurse. Besides the medical and education qualification, a psychiatric nurse should possess compassion and understanding, to create a bond of trust with the patient. A patient usually appreciates the efforts of a nurse who makes an attempt to understand his situation and works diligently towards improving it. The nurse is also expected to manage ethical dilemmas. This profession demands the patience to tackle all kinds of mental and emotional upheaval.


Like most other professions, the salary in of a psychiatric nurse depends on the experience and the size and location of the hospital or agency. Psychiatric mental health nurses usually earn $35,000 to $40,000 per year. Advanced practice registered nurses earn $60,000 and above. Nurse executives earn $100,000 and above. Teachers and faculty members earn approximately $65,000 and above.

Future of Psychiatric Nursing

The demand for psychiatric nurses is expected to rise in the coming years. At present, there is an increase in the number of students pursuing careers in psychiatric nursing. You can access lots of information from books and journals, easily available online.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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