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Featured Article – An Introduction To Psychiatric Nursing

October 2, 2008 · Filed Under Featured Articles · Comment 

An Introduction To Psychiatric Nursing

What do psychiatric nurses do?

Psychiatric nurses are nurses who specialize in the treatment of those with mental disorders. They are sometimes known as mental health nurses. Psychiatric nurses may treat patients on an in-patient or out-patient basis, and may see those suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and many other types of mental health conditions. Psychiatric nurses work with those who are seriously ill as well as those who are taking proactive steps to improve their health.

Psychiatric nurses receive specialized training to become familiar with different types of treatment therapies as well as methods of effectively dealing with what at times can be extremely challenging behavior or non-compliant patients.

What are the challenges of psychiatric nursing?

One of the largest obstacles that a psychiatric nurse must overcome is the fact that many of the patients they are responsible for may not wish to receive treatment. There are few other specialties in medicine where the patient may not wish to be well.
This reluctance to receive treatment may be present whether the patient is working as an outpatient or is in a secure psychiatric facility. This general unwillingness to receive treatment complicates the treatment process.

What specialized training does the psychiatric nurse receive?

Psychiatric nurses are trained in the administration of different types of psychiatric medications. Not only must they be comfortable giving medicines both orally and through intramuscular (IM) injections, they must know what types of side effects to watch for with each type of medication.

While medication is commonly used when treating mental health patients, the psychiatric nurse must also be familiar with the different forms of therapy used as part of the treatment plan. While a physician or counselor will be in charge of any psychotherapy the patient receives, the nurse must understand the concepts of the therapy as well as the goal. Since the nurse sees the patient more than the doctor or counselor, she can be on the alert for changes of behavior or worrisome new developments that may affect the patient’s recovery.

Jobs for psychiatric nurses

There are a variety of career paths for those nurses that are interested in the mental health field. While most people think automatically of working in an in-patient facility, there are many other areas where psychiatric nurses are employed. Out-patient hospitals are commonly used for those mental health patients that pose no immediate threat to themselves or others. Additionally, many psychiatric nurses work in rehabilitation hospitals, to help patients who have suffered a stroke or other health problem and need help to reclaim their life.

Psychiatric nurses also work in many community based health clinics. They may work with the public, in an office, or make home visits to those in need of mental health care. Psychiatric nurses that work in this capacity often run community based addiction programs, providing counselling for those struggling with alcohol or drug dependency.
Psychiatric nurses also work with the incarcerated population, both before and after trial. Many psychiatric nurses work in retirement communities and assisted living homes. As the population ages, the incidences of dementia are increasing, and psychiatric nurses are often best trained to deal with the increasing demands of an elderly patient suffering from dementia.

Types of psychiatric nurses

Licensed practical nurses and licensed psychiatric technicians are permitted to dispense medications to psychiatric patients. They also help maintain the patient’s records. A registered nurse, or a specialized registered psychiatric nurse, can perform the same duties of the LPN, and also help with assessments and provide counselling (if trained). The RN that goes on to complete their masters or doctorate degree can work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. In addition to other duties, the psychiatric nurse practitioner can provide psychiatric diagnosis and prescribe medications. In some states the psychiatric nurse practitioner can work independently, while in others they work under a physician.

Job outlook

The job outlook for psychiatric nursing, like many other types of nursing, is good. Several reasons for this are: Our aging population may increase the number of psychiatric nurses required in assisted living homes. As the cost of health care continues to increase, more insurance companies and private pay patients can make the decision to see a trained nurse rather than a more expensive doctor or counsellor.

For those interested in taking on the challenge of working in this field, the career path is wide open. The job is well suited for those who enjoy a challenge, have the ability to think on their feet, and those who enjoy seeing their work directly help others. If you believe that this is the career path for you, talk to others in the field. They can give you insight on a typical day and tell you the particular challenges and rewards of working in the field of psychiatric nursing.

Source: http://www.ArticlePros.com/author.php?Rachel Jackson

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