Nursing is a very good profession. There is demand, the pay is quite good, the health benefits are okay, and there are a lot of specializations that you can go to in case you get tired of being stuck in one practice. One interesting opportunity is a career in psychiatric nursing.
What is a psychiatric nurse? This is a nurse that works in the psychiatric ward or mental health department of a hospital or medical facility and whose primary function is to take care and evaluate patients who display conditions and symptoms of psychiatric disorders. Also included in their scope are conditions brought about by substance abuse problems. So you can see that the scope of a psychiatric nurse’s job is not as limited as the title signifies.
Together with the doctors in the department, it is often part of the psychiatric nurse’s responsibilities to create a series of treatment plans that would help manage the conditions of each patient in the ward. Aside from the regular work of nurses, there are opportunities to work as researchers and even consultants on the field of psychiatry and psychiatric treatments. Often, they also serve as buffer or a support pillar for the families of the patients, explaining to them the conditions and the treatments involved.
There are certain steps that one has to undertake if he/she wants to be a psychiatric nurse. Because of the responsibilities involved, a psychiatric nurse is often required to take more courses as preparation to the tasks they will be handling. A masters degree or even a doctorate can be sometimes required or if not will definitely become handy in landing a better position.
To be more specific, the delegation of tasks can be divided into basic and advanced. The basic responsibilities of an entry level psychiatric nurse include working with the patients, their families, the community if possible and the support groups. It is also a basic requirement that nurses will be able to assess the mental health of patients, create nursing plans of action, and can put the necessary treatment plans into practice.
The next level would be the advanced level where an advanced level of education is necessary. This is where the masters degree specializing on psychiatric nursing will be required. With their education and experience, psychiatric nurses in the advanced level are expected to diagnose and treat patients and their families that manifest psychiatric disorders. They also do some important administrative work by keeping in touch with researchers, colleagues in the private sector in order to develop programs that would be agreeable to the general regulations of the hospital.
In this field nurses can still choose a specialization. There are still different fields of study in psychiatry. There’s psychiatric nursing for the elderly, for teens, and for children. There’s also the field of substance abuse and, of course, the field of forensics.
If we’re going to talk about the remunerations involved in a psychiatric nursing, the amount really depends on the skills, education and experience of the nurse. The location and kind of hospital is also part of how much a career in psychiatric nursing will make.
Nurses with more education and experience under their belt will normally earn more. Psychiatric nurses will continue to be in demand in the near future.