Thursday, January 12, 2012

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: A Career Overview

A psychiatric nurse practitioner or (PMH-NP) is a trained nurse who provides expert mental care for adult and child patients in a primary health care setting or in outpatient settings. The PMH-NP can carry out a range of duties without the supervision of a doctor.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners can diagnose mental conditions of adults and children, conduct therapy, and prescribe medications for their patients. They can diagnose and treat a range of medical conditions like psychiatric disorders, medical mental conditions, substance abuse disorders, learning disorders etc. The PMH-NP can also provide emergency psychiatric care for patients followed by crisis intervention and counseling.

These practitioners are licensed to make physical assessments, plan treatment and manage patient medication on their own. They can work independently in hospitals, clinics, schools, nursing homes, and run their own practice.


Psychiatric nurse practitioners are post graduates with master's degrees in their fields. For example, a student must complete a four-year degree in nursing to get their BSN degree. Students may also complete a two-year associate degree or a three-year diploma in nursing to complete their BSN or RN degree. Once they have completed their BSN or RN degree, the student then has to apply to an accredited psychiatric nurse practitioner program. The psychiatric nurse practitioner program will provide additional training in psychological diseases, and management and administration of psychiatric medication. Most courses are for two years and result in a master's degree in nursing. Students will have to complete a supervised clinical rotation before they are certified as specialists in the field of child or adult psychiatric nursing. Students who opt for the master's degree will have to complete a one-year training program to sit for the NCLEX-RN.

Once the student has completed the master's degree, they can also opt for additional certification to become a Doctor of Nursing in Psychiatric Nursing. Apart from full-time programs, there are quite a few accredited online programs that are also useful. For example, the University of Pittsburgh, Brandman University, and University of Cincinnati offer a range of online graduate and postgraduate degrees in psychiatric nursing which can be a boon for the working candidate. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National League for Nursing are responsible for accrediting nursing programs in the U.S. Before choosing degrees and enrolling to study for them, students should check with the schools to find out about their current accreditation and licensing.


Once the student has completed the psychiatric nursing degree, he or she will have to sit for state licensing exams. Each state has different degrees and titles that are awarded to psychiatric nurse practitioners. The candidate must submit an application to to apply for licensing in the state they in which they are interested. There is a $200 fee that must be paid at the time of application. The association will mail exam details and test admission cards directly to the student at their specified address and other information to the mail ids provided by the applicant.

Being a psychiatric nurse is completely different from being a psychiatrists or social worker since PMH-NPs can work independently of doctors. They can prescribe medications and even treat patients in their own clinics. With the current boom in the healthcare industry, PMHs can expect that jobs will be plentiful in both private practices and in the public sector. These professionals receive impressive salaries for working in a demanding field. In addition to monetary compensation, the psychiatric nurse will have the satisfaction of knowing he or she can help troubled people who need psychiatric treatment.

The author has spent a lot of time learning about medical technicians and other related topics. Read more about pharmacy technicians at the author's website.

No comments:

Post a Comment