Mental Health Nurse, Mental Health Nursing Schools, Training, Jobs, and Careers

What is Mental Health Nurse?

Mental health nurses are nurses who have training particular to psychiatric care. They work directly with patients and their families using the care plan to provide necessary treatment for psychiatric ailments and to enable the patient to work for their own progress as well.

Mental health nurses are either registered nurses (RN's) that specialize in psychiatric care, or have obtained advanced degrees to be clinical nurse specialists or practitioners with Master's or Specialist's certification. Some have proceeded to obtain doctorate, and work as researchers, professors, or administration. Within the area of mental health, a nurse may specialize in an age-specific field, substance abuse, forensics, and other specialties.

Tasks involved with being a mental health nurse include, but are not limited to:

1. Assess patients, make nursing diagnosis
2. Foster trust with patient
3. Care for chronic or acute mental conditions
4. Provide correct medication administration, monitor reactions and results
5. Encourage individual or group therapy, based on the individual's plan of care
6. Engender a calming atmosphere to "de-escalate" patients from heightened emotional states
7. Encourage the use of art, music, drama for therapy as appropriate
8. Encourage participation in speech, occupational, or physical therapy as appropriate
9. Record and evaluate behavioral trends
10. Educate patient, family, and caregiver in therapeutic strategies
11. Assess sleep, dietary, and hygiene patterns in regard to behavioral activity

Mental health nurses work under the licensure of the physicians and facilities employing them. For those with advanced degrees, they may work under their own diagnostic licensure, depending on state law. Consultants and forensic nurses provide their expertise to non-medical fields.

How to Become a Mental Health Nurse:
Prospective mental health nurses must study for RN licensure from an approved academic institution. Associate degrees take two years, a hospital-based diploma program takes three years, and a university bachelor's program takes four years of study.

All have full RN licensure once the state exam is passed and fees paid. Bachelor's certification is desirable if further study toward specialty programs is sought.

Anyone seeking to be an RN can expect to take basic nursing classes and be trained in all disciplines of nursing. Some courses or subjects that must be studied are:

1. Anatomy and Physiology
2. Microbiology
3. Pharmacology
4. Medical Terminology
5. Nutrition
6. Nursing Foundations
7. Chemistry
8. Statistics
9. Pediatric and Geriatric Study
10. Psychiatric Nursing

In order to begin a career in mental health, an RN should apply for an entry-level position within the field. Refresher courses in psychiatric nursing are often available at nursing colleges. Those who wish to make a career in mental health may choose to continue toward the Master's or Specialist's certification.

Mental health nurses work in a variety of locations, including:

1. Physician's offices
2. Hospitals
3. Nursing Homes
4. Rehabilitation Centers
5. Law Enforcement Agencies

Mental health nurses of all levels are certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Mental Health Nurse Salary:
These nurses make very good income. The national average pay is $67,000 per year. We have seen some that make as much as $86,000 per year. This depends on your location and years of experience. Keep in mind that your pay will continue to increase as you gain more experience and years of service.

Mental Health Nursing School:
There are many ways to become a mental health nurse. You can attend a school that offers LPN/LVN or RN to become one. You can also get your advanced nursing degree.

You need to visit the nursing school website. They have campus and online programs. Some of these schools are in your area. Follow this link to visit and get their free and no obligation information.

Return from Mental Health Nurse to Medical Assistants Schools and Careers

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