What Is The Role Of A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?
Our society has an increased awareness of the mental health crisis and stigmas that are attached to them. But for a psychiatric nurse practitioner, caring for those who have emotional or personality disorders is no different than treating patients with any other physical illness.
According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, this role is “an advanced nursing role requiring extensive education in development, physical and mental health assessment, the diagnosis of mental health conditions, integration and implementation of care, psychopharmacology, psychotherapy, practice evaluation, consultation, and liaison.” As such, practitioners in this specialty earn a master’s or doctoral degrees in psychiatric-mental health nursing.
In this role, whether they are working in a facility where there are severe issues, such as a prison, mental health clinic, or state-run mental health hospitals, or they have a private practice in an outpatient setting, they see mentally unstable people as needing a guiding hand to help them figure out strategies for getting along in the world. They diagnose their illnesses, treat them through talk or group therapy, and prescribe a specific set of medications to help their patients manage their moods and in some cases, violent or destructive tendencies.
If you are thinking about taking on this role, you would most likely specialize in pediatric, adult or elderly care. Each area has its own challenges and rewards. A psychiatric nurse practitioner can literally be a lifeline to their patients who are depending on you to help them manage their treatment, as well as their lives. If you have patience, a calm demeanor and a desire to help those who cannot always help themselves, this could be a truly rewarding career.
Some great resources to learn more about psychiatric nurse practitioner careers: