It is the duty of the psychiatric nurse to take care of the physical and mental needs of the patients, with special emphasis on the mental needs. The duty of the psychiatric nurse is to conduct therapy, administer medication and identify the sign of worsening mental issues or impending crisis. When anything unusual is discovered, it must be reported to the nurse practitioner or psychiatrist for immediate intervention. All these things require a lot of commitments and the best way to prepare yourself for the challenges is to get enrolled in one of the psychiatric nurse practitioner programs available today.
Being a psychiatric nurse practitioner requires you to have at least a master’s degree in nursing with Psychiatric Care (mental health) as specialization. The programs cover advanced skills which teach you how to handle high-level or very demanding nursing tasks, and combined with classroom learning, you will be able to take part in hands-on learning in a clinical environment. To be a nurse practitioner, it may also be necessary to proceed to the doctorate degree level after you have earned your master’s degree in Nursing. State laws are always changing and most now require holding higher degree to be able to handle many health issues, including mental health.
The most important thing is to let see that the program is accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and The National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, Inc (NLNAC). Accreditation of any program you are interested in is very important. In psychiatric nursing, completing a CCNE or NLNAC accredited program is also required by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). There are also many online psychiatric nurse practitioner programs. An important thing in this case is to make sure that there is proper accreditation to not waste your money and time.
Completing any of the available psychiatric nurse practitioner programs enables you start providing treatment plans for many psychiatric conditions, giving emergency psychiatric services, carrying out the psycho-social and physical assessment of patients, and handling the general care of the psychiatric patient. Being a psychiatric nurse also enables you to occupy different positions and also serve as a psychiatric or medical consultant for not only your patients, but their families as well. Good psychiatric nurse practitioner programs will teach you how to carry out different psychiatric diagnosis such as effectively treating different types of psychiatric disorders, including differential diagnosis of various psychiatric disorders according to the symptoms.
As a psychiatric nurse, you are assured of an annual salary of around $55,000 when you are just starting. When you reach the level of an advanced psychiatric nurse, you should start to earn more than $75,000 per year. For nurses in administrative positions or nurse executives, you can earn more than $120,000 per year. Generally, the annual salary depends on years of experience, education level, geographic location of the employer, size of the healthcare facility, etc.