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What a Psychiatric Nurse Does

January 9th, 2011

There is one career in this world that calls upon an individual to give their life to those that suffer from mental distress or mental illness. Working with people who possess psychiatric problems and disorders, the career of a psychiatric nurse (PN) can be one filled with challenges and obstacles. On a daily basis you may find yourself confronting someone with depression, a schizophrenic, or an individual who is bipolar. The general environments which psychiatric nurses reside are hospitals, mental health agencies, and care centers. In these facilities a PN gages the needs of a patient, develops a care plan – which is designed to help improve one's ability to cope. Besides organizing treatment, a PN may also counsel a patient, offering more incite. Being a psychiatric nurse means you are an advanced practice registered nurse who obtained a Master's degrees in psychiatric-mental health nursing. This degree gives a nurse the opportunity to practice independently, and in some parts of the country prescribe medications.

If you are interested in becoming a psychiatric nurse, further training is required beyond a Masters – training in psychological therapies. It is important for any PN to understand how to deal with challenging behavior, and once you have acquired enough knowledge and on-the-job experience, passing an exam can get you certified in psychiatric and mental health nursing. Similar to other specific nursing careers, finding a full-time job opportunity can be a challenge. All you can do is increase your skill set with as much experience and training as possible. However with the health care industry currently thriving, it is not unrealistic to say that future opportunities will be available.

Before anyone begins their path to becoming a psychiatric nurse, they need to ask themselves if they are capable of what is expected from the job title. The cases you will come across can break your heart and can affect you personally. You probably will not be able to solve every one of your patient's problems and there may be times when you question yourself and the information you are preaching. This just comes with the territory, but they are people in need and with your guidance, they can enjoy more of what life has to offer. Being a psychiatric nurse requires a strong will, and at times can be intimidating. However if you know that you are capable of handling the typical challenges that come from interacting with troubled patients, and you are willing to put in the time to obtain the necessary education, then this can be a very rewarding career choice.