As the world moves through the effects of 2+ years experiencing the Covid pandemic and division and upheaval can be found everywhere, mental health concerns might conceivably affect the human population more than they ever have before.
In times of severe mental stress, the need for trained professionals who can adeptly care for a range of mental health issues and illnesses has never been more vital. Psychiatric nurse practitioners fill an integral need in our societies by providing mental health care for countless people around the world every year.
What are psychiatric nurse practitioners (PMHNP)?
Psychiatric nurse practitioners (NPs) care for patients that need some form of mental health or psychiatric care (which could be in addition to other health needs or concerns). They are licensed nurses that also are credentialed by an overseeing Psychiatric health board or organization to provide mental health care within a variety of environments.
Psychiatric NPs might practice within hospital, outpatient, or mental institution settings. They could also be found working in other locales as well. Psychiatric NPs have undergone a high level of training and are licensed to perform advanced technical and medicinal tasks.
Though certifications and clearances vary by governing body and by practicing state, many psychiatric nurses can prescribe medications, diagnose, design treatment plans, and administer comprehensive care to mental health patients. They may also work alongside physicians or other medical professionals to provide care.
Psychiatric Nurses often confront confusion and incorrect stereotypes about what their jobs might entail. Due to the wide variety of Psychiatric NP jobs and roles available today, the daily experiences of Psychiatric Nurses might vary widely from one to the next. However, one commonality is the exceptional impact they have on the wellbeing of their patients.
Psychiatric Nurses develop a specific skill set that makes them uniquely valuable and influential in the care and treatment process. Effective NP’s perform their duties with attuned interpersonal skills. They have strong senses of compassion and empathy, strong communication skills, are often highly personable and interactive, and are natural listeners and helpers.
When an NP pursues the education and accreditation necessary to become a Psychiatric NP, they build on top of those original skills a robust academic understanding of mental wellbeing and illnesses. They study subjects including psychiatry, psychopharmacology, social and behavioral sciences, and psychotherapy. Psychiatric NPs have the skills necessary to provide strong nursing care as well as robust and often autonomous psychiatric care as well. Psychiatric NPs are highly capable professionals within the medical field.
This combination of skills allows Psychiatric NPs to provide end-to-end care and treatment for large numbers of individuals suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses or difficulties. In many cases they can ease suffering and catalyze true healing for patients that experience severe disorders or illness. Psychiatric NPs are a vital part of the medical profession and bring unique offerings to the health provision landscape.
How to become a PMHNP
To pursue a career in psychiatric nursing, the first step is to become a registered nurse (RN). This requires earning an ADN or a BSN from an accredited nursing program and then passing the RN licensure exam. If you enter nursing through an ADN programme, in order to pursue a Psychiatric NP licensure you’ll also need to complete a BSN degree or complete an accelerated RN to MSN program.
To progress from practicing as an RN to becoming a Psychiatric NP, you’ll usually need to complete an accredited PMHNP programme and become licensed to practice in this area. PMHNP programs are offered in both in-person and online formats. Choosing an online PMHNP program can provide superior flexibility and accessibility if you are already working as a nurse or serving in a different career.
Pursuing a role as a psychiatric nurse practitioner can open the door to a satisfying career that will allow you to create tremendous personal and social impact for the people you serve. The world has never needed more mental health support than now. Psychiatric NPs are helping change the world one patient at a time.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.