As the name implies, the registered psychiatric nurse works in the field of mental health rather than physical health. These nurses may perform physical nursing duties, but they work in a facility devoted to mental health care. As a nurse in the mental health field, you may be called upon to work with patients that suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADD, schizophrenia and other mental disorders. These disorders in patients may range from glaring to barely discernible. Some nurses also work in the realm of addiction treatment and inpatient mental health care.
There are many inpatient mental facilities, both for addiction treatment and other issues, that need qualified nurses. These facilities are usually like units, that contain a ward or separate wards for men and women. The patients stay in rooms, often with a roommate. If there is room in the facility, a patient may be allowed to have their own room. These inpatient facilities have strict security guidelines to keep employees safe and employ lots of RNs to administer medicine, get test samples and much more. There are also outpatient facilities where RNs may check patients vital signs and perform other tasks also.
The LPN, or licensed practical nurse, may decide to get into the mental health field. Also called licensed vocational nurses in some U.S. States, they can give out medications and collect data related to patients and their mental and physical care. Another job to consider is that of licensed psychiatric technician, who performs many of the same duties with a more specialized education and training focus. Registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses can also work in the mental health field.
The title of registered psychiatric nurse is one that is hard earned. In the first place, you must obtain an Associates degree in nursing and pass your state nursing exam to become an RN in the first place. This can take two or more years to complete. If you want to continue your education, you can become an advanced practice registered nurse with a focus on the mental health field. There is a growing need for nurses to work in mental health settings as more people seek medical assistance for mental illness and addiction. Nurses serve as a valuable link between patient and doctor, and can be a comforting presence for a frightened or upset patient.