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Psychiatric Nurse

Help provide for patients' mental health needs.

What does a Psychiatric Nurse do?

A Psychiatric Nurse works with individuals, families, or communities to assist patients with mental health needs. This is a specialized field of nursing which requires a degree as a Registered Nurse, a nurturing attitude, and empathy.

Part of your job is to monitor your patients’ vital signs, such as blood pressure and pulse, and supply medication as needed. A Psychiatric Nurse observes, questions, guides, and evaluates to gain a complete understanding of the patient’s state of mind. Can she take care of basic needs such as washing and feeding herself? Are family members concerned for her safety? Does she have a history of mental illness? With this information, a Psychiatric Nurse completes the patient’s charts and directs them to appropriate medical staff, such as Psychiatrists, Psychotherapists, or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners.

A patient suffering mental illness is often in a fragile state. Because of you, they find answers to questions, comfort, and guidance that make the experience less scary. The patient’s family and friends have questions too. You educate them about the patient’s illness and ways that they can help. You also connect them to resources that give them information or support, such as support groups and specialists.

There are many facilities where you can offer your services, such as hospitals, short or long-term rehabilitation centers and in-home care. Regardless of location, your job is to provide for the patient’s basic needs. Like with other nursing positions, this includes physical, mental, and emotional support, delivered with a gentle hand.