Mental Health Nursing

Nursing is a specialized area of study within healthcare. It involves looking after the sick, providing them emergency medical care, using medical equipment, and assisting physicians and other medical staff. Nurses may specialize in a particular area within nursing such as pediatrics, emergency care, surgery and more. Mental health nurses are healthcare experts who work with patients having mood or personality disorders. These nurses work in a hospital’s psychiatric wards and mental-health-care settings. They help the patients as well as their families and make sure that they get the most effective treatment possible.

Mental health nurses administer medications, monitor for side effects and also ensure a patient’s personal hygiene. Psychiatric nurses with advanced degrees have more responsibilities. They can opt to become nursing instructors and administrators and can also choose a specialty within the psychiatric nursing field such forensics, substance-abuse, or child-adolescent mental health.
The exact job description of mental health nurses may vary depending on their qualification and area of specialization. Registered nurses care for a mental health patient, while nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists diagnose and treat them.

How to Become a Mental Health Nurse

To become a mental health nurse, a student needs to obtain a registered nurse degree. They need to earn an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in nursing that takes 2-4 years to complete respectively. Earning a master’s degree in nursing can also help students pursue a career in psychiatric mental health nursing. Some of the courses students will study in the nursing programs include human physiology, human anatomy, psychology, and chemistry.

The next step is to obtain an RN license. Aspiring mental health nurses also need to earn a certificate issued by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs

Students need to complete mental health nurse practitioner programs in order to practice this profession. These programs provide students with the opportunity to get in-depth theoretical understanding of advanced nursing practice. Students who have earned a master’s degree in nursing can enroll in this program and improve their career prospects. They must also have at least one year of experience in nursing to get into this program. The curriculum of this program may include topics such as psychopathology family theory in context, practice of family therapy, theory of group psychotherapy, clinical practice and supervision with groups and advanced health assessment in psychiatric-mental health nursing.

Career Outlook for Mental Health Nurses
Nurses who specialize in psychiatric mental health nursing are in high demand across the country. These professionals can earn from $40,000 to $60,000 on an annual basis. The specific health-care facility, qualification, the geographic location, and the experience are some of the factors that determine the salary of these healthcare professionals.

Online Programs for Mental Health Nurses

 If you want to become a mental health nurse but cannot attend regular classes, there is nothing to worry; online programs in nursing can help. These programs allow you to study from the comfort of your home and at timings that suit your personal routine. As they are self-paced, you can complete them at your own pace and get into the nursing sector in a convenient manner.





Ask an Expert

Q:How to become a mental health nurse practitioner after completing high school?

A:Psychiatric nursing is specialty field which is related to providing healthcare services to patients with mental health issues and disorders. To become a mental health nurse, one must first acquire a nursing degree from an accredited nursing school. The next step is to enroll in a graduate degree with specialization in mental health. There are also a number of certification programs available in this field.

Q:What can I expect in mental health nursing jobs?

A:Mental health nursing is a specialty field that aims towards providing healthcare services to mentally ill patients. Nurses working in this field are expected to work with patients suffering from psychological and mental issues. From administering medication to counseling, and from assisting physicians to diagnosing illnesses, a number of job duties are expected to be performed by mental health nurses.

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