Psychiatric Nurse

Nurses are in demand. As a matter of fact, there is a shortage of nurses and it doesn’t seem that need for nurses is going to be decreasing in the near future. This means that now is the time to consider a career in psychiatric nursing.

What a Psychiatric Nurse Does
A psychiatric nurse works with patients who are in the middle of a mental health crisis. Their duties will include the need to ascertain what each patient’s needs are. Then, they will need to draw up a plan that addresses those needs. When people are in the middle of a mental health crisis, they may have difficulties coping with the day to day things they have to do. A Psychiatric nurse will help them perform these duties such as bathing. They may also need help remembering to take their medication. Whenever their services are needed for counseling, psychiatric nurses can help in this area, too.

Education Required to Become a Psychiatric Nurse
In order to become a psychiatric nurse, people must become registered nurses. The most desirable degree for those seeking psychiatric nurses is the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Those who only obtain an associate’s degree also need to receive more training in a hospital setting before they can become psychiatric nurses.

Aside from the BSN degree, nurses also need to have completed a program in psychological treatments. They will have learned how to handle patients who are mentally ill and they will have had courses on psychiatric medication. A combination of coursework and training leads these nurses to be able to take the exam that will certify them in psychiatric nursing. Most states will require that psychiatric nurses become certified.

Where Psychiatric Nurses Work
Psychiatric nurses can work in several different settings including hospitals, doctor’s offices, health departments, agencies devoted to mental health and long-term care facilities dedicated to the mentally ill.

The Salary of a Psychiatric Nurse
Psychiatric nurses can make $24 per hour all the way up to $32 per hour. People who decide to gain even more education and become psychiatric nurse practitioners earn more money. Generally, psychiatric nurse practitioners earn $75,000 to $85,000 annually, but these nurses have earned masters’ degrees in psychiatric and mental health nursing.

The Job Outlook for the Psychiatric Nurse
In the next decade, it is expected that the need for psychiatric nurses is going to continually grow. The psychiatric nurses who have the most education, training and certifications as well as experience will be the ones who will be in the highest demand. Psychiatric nurses are believed to be needed so much that former nursing students may be able to qualify for a loan forgiveness program in their states.

Other Nursing Options
Along the same lines psychiatric nursing is the clinical nurse specialist. The clinical nurse specialist requires a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. After earning this degree, these nurses complete a supervised training program after which they will be able to become certified to work with the psychiatric and mentally ill population.

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