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Pychiatric Nurse

Psychiatric nurses work with patients, families and groups to evaluate mental health needs, determine a diagnosis and implement a plan of nursing care. They treat individuals with personality and mood disorders in addition to severe mental conditions and substance abuse cases. They play an important role in the assessment, treatment and recovery of mentally-ill patients. Psychiatric nurses conduct basic nursing procedures, including health promotion, disease prevention and health management. Psychiatric nurses also focus on health teaching and crisis intervention, as many of their patients are dealing with life-long mental disorders and need regular supervision.

Psychiatric nurses are licensed registered nurses (RNs) who have earned an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing or completed a nursing diploma program, as well as passed the NCLEX-RN licensure exam. Before nurses will be eligible to sit for the psychiatric and mental health nurse certification exam, they must have at least two years of full time experience as a registered nurse, have a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in psychiatric mental health nursing during the past three years and have completed 30 hours of continuing education within the specialty. According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, all prospective psychiatric nurses are encouraged to do volunteer work in hospitals, agencies and other medical settings that care for patients with psychiatric problems. This will help interested nurses determine if psychiatric-mental health nursing is suitable for them.

According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, entry-level psychiatric nurses make about $35,000 to $40,000 per year. However, their salaries can vary based on location, employer, education level and experience within the field. In addition, there is a great deal of room to advance your education and job opportunities within the psychiatric nursing specialty. Also, psychiatric nurses can sub-specialize in certain areas, like child-adolescent mental health nursing or forensics, to expand their knowledge and offer assistance in demanding fields.