Learn how to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner through this informative piece of writing. You can also learn all about their job outlook, educational requirements, and salary range…
A psychiatric nurse practitioner holds a very important place in the health care industry. Basically, they help mentally ill patients and ensure that their road to recovery is a smooth one. They are also called psychiatric or mental nurse practitioners. They devote their time and their career to caring for people who suffer from any mental disease or distress. They work in hospitals, clinics, mental hospitals and in homes of individuals. If you are an aspiring health care professional and interested in this field, I think you would like to know how to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
On a daily basis, psychiatric nurses deal with patients suffering from mental health issues such as psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, various types of depression and dementia. Usually these mental health nurses specialize in treating a particular disorder, and sometimes they work in special schools and drug rehabilitation centers.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Educational Requirements
Those of you who are interested in becoming a qualified psychiatric nurse practitioner will have to become a Registered Nurse (RN) first. To become a qualified registered nurse, prospective nurses need to earn an Associate or Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN). Once you’ve completed your degree you have to pass the RN license exam as you need to have a license to become a valid registered nurse. The next thing to do is to earn your master’s degree in psychiatric nursing.
Remember, to become a psychiatric nurse a master’s degree is compulsory. Education for psychiatric nurses mainly focuses on topics like narcotics and their effects, symptoms of metal illnesses, psychotherapy, mental health assessment and proper treatment of the disorder. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National League for Nursing (NLN) offers various graduate programs for psychiatric nursing.
The exams for psychiatric nursing are offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). These exams are cracked on the computer which can be taken by candidates at any time. It’s mandatory that psychiatric nurses renew their certification every five years. This is to ensure that the nurses are well aware of the current research and developments in their profession.
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Duties
Nurse practitioners help mental health doctors and psychiatrists in their daily duties of curing patients who suffer from mental illnesses. They perform the same duties as psychiatrists do, in fact some of them work much harder. They talk to patients and assess their health, they also provide counseling to those who need it, keep a record of the mental progress, diagnose mental illnesses and even prescribe medications in the absence of the doctor.
In most cases, mental nurse practitioners act like therapists, they help people who are suicidal, depressed or suffering from panic attacks through counseling sessions. These nurses also help the patient’s family understand the patient’s scenario in a better way so that the family knows how to react in certain cases. Though they are nurses, their educational qualifications, skills and presence of mind makes them a very important part of mental health institutions and diagnostic centers.
Salary and Employment Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there is going to be 30% rise in the demand of psychiatric nurse practitioners. There’s also a high demand for registered nurses in the health care sector, in fact there are more nurses in the medical profession than any other job.
Most of us know that the demand for different types of nurses will never go down due to the ever-increasing population and need for excellent medical services. Mental health is as important as physical health and looking at the number of people affected by mental disorders, the demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners is going to rise for sure.
Psychiatric nurses, on an average, earn almost $30 to $42 an hour. Their annual salary goes up to $75,000 to $87,000. Their salary package also depends on the training, certifications, location of the job and the years of experience.
This rewarding career requires a great deal of effort and a will to help people suffering from mental conditions. To become a nurse practitioner for mental patients you need to have the quality of patience in you to make sure you understand the mental health of the patient.