How to become a Psychiatric nurse

  • It is challenging as well as fulfilling to become a Psychiatric Nurse. The opportunities to minister and to influence the patients’ as well as their love ones’ lives are basically endless. Psychiatric nurse encounters all kinds of moods, behaviour and personality. Sometimes they are verbally, physically and emotionally threatened by patients but to work with people in crisis and help them alleviate their sufferings bring unexplainable fulfilment. Meeting people suffering from homelessness, addictions and hopelessness because of tragic and traumatic experiences in life and helping them renew their hope in themselves, in other people and in God and to have a positive outlook in life again is such a wonderful experience.

  • Psychiatric nurses are well educated in behavioural therapy and sciences. This enables them to educate and treat their patients who are suffering from psychiatric medical conditions such as depression, bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia. They also educate the patients’ family members on dealing with the consequences and challenges wrought by these ailments.

    To become a Psychiatric nurse, you need to earn a nursing diploma or Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Then you should pass the national Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). Afterwards, you can apply and start working as a Registered Nurse in a Psychiatric hospital and other mental health facilities. You can also earn a Psychiatric Nursing Degree through online education. There are now many online schools that allow nursing course aspirants to earn their associate’s degree and be eligible for initial RN licensure examinations. There are website where you can find schools that offer Online nursing educations. Examples of these sites are and

    Psychiatric nurse training

    Newly graduate Registered Nurse or experienced Registered Nurse who wish to become a psychiatric nurse are required to undergo Psychiatric Training Program (PTP). This is to prepare them to afford proficient nursing care to adult patients in the critical psychiatric situation. Generally, the registered nurse will carry out professional nursing duties under supervision. Psychiatric nurse performs the essential nursing procedures and functions such as nursing care with adult patients who are suffering from behaviour symptoms associated to psychiatric ailment. Psychiatric nurse will also execute multidisciplinary care plans and perform the management of the patient care afforded by the nursing staff designated to the unit where psychiatric nurse works. The Registered Nurse is also required to perform other related duties while under the Psychiatric Training Program.

    Psychiatric nurse certification

    Although it is not required for registered nurses who wish to become a psychiatric nurses to obtain certifications, it is an essential requisite as it establishes the nurses’ dedication in caring for patients with mental conditions. Certification gives advantage in the course of interview and selection process. It gives the patients and their family members a sense of trust in the wisdom and ability of nurse who posses it. In many cases, certification becomes the basis for giving higher salary.  Basically, there are 2 types of certification for registered psychiatric nurses, the RN Psychiatric Certification and Advanced Practice Nurse Psychiatric Certification. According to American Nurses Credentialing Centre, to be eligible for RN psychiatric certification, 2 years of nursing experience is required. The applicant should also have at least 2,000 hours of nursing practice in a mental institution within a 3 year period. In addition, a 30 hour of progressive psychiatric education within the 3 year period prior to taking of the certification examination is required. The awarded diploma is the Board Certified Registered Nurse while the designation is Psychiatric Mental health Nurse. To attain Advanced Practice Nurse Psychiatric Certification, a registered nurse should have masters, doctoral or other post graduate degree in Psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner program. Advanced pathophysiology and advanced pharmacology and physical/health assessment should be included in their program. The awarded diploma is Board Certified Psychiatric Health Nurse Practitioner or PMHNP-BC while the title given is Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Read also How to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

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    Conclusion about how to become a psychiatric nurse

    Being a Psychiatric Nurse is indeed a challenging and fulfilling occupation. There is no vocation more fulfilling than the one that contributes changes and instils hope in the lives of patients who would otherwise become hopeless and become a burden to their family and a headache to society. Most psychiatric conditions are manageable if not treatable. Being an instrument of healing and hope to these patients is imparting a priceless contribution to individual sufferers, to their families and to society in general. Additionally, it is also a lucrative occupation that can provide enough for your loved ones and would sustain them to reach their own dreams and aspirations in life.

    Psychiatric nurse hourly rate increases dramatically from $21.68  to $36.00. Read more about psychiatric nurse salary.

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