Psychiatric mental health nursing is a specialization that involves caring for patients with mental health challenges. This dynamic occupation can be extremely meaningful and rewarding. This career requires a nursing degree that prepares graduates to work with patients who are mentally or psychologically challenged.
What do Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses Do?
Psychiatric mental health nurses provide care for patients with mental and also psychological challenges. Impairments include emotional health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism. Other conditions include post-traumatic stress disorder and general symptoms such as paranoia or dementia. Below are common nursing jobs related to conditions like these.
Community Mental Health Nursing
A community mental health center serves clients on an out-patient or therapy basis who are dealing with various illnesses or conditions. Patients may have undergone diagnosis, treatment, or surgery. Some patients visit the community mental health agency for evaluation and some for medication monitoring. Nurses in this setting perform Interviews and checkups. Additionally, information about resources may be provided, along with referrals to mental health specialists, if warranted.
Hospital Psychiatric Nursing
Most hospitals have a psychiatric ward or department that provides in-patient services. These may include an acute phase of a mental disorder, such as a panic attack or psychotic episode. These can stem from a genetic component, an undiagnosed condition, or a medication reaction. A patient may initially visit the ER for care. However, if the situation requires admission, this department handles the relevant care over a period of several days or weeks.
The patient’s regular doctor, as well as a house doctor, follow the patient’s progress. Often the nursing staff assists with monitoring the patient along with all activities. The activities they monitor include eating, mood, and therapies that may be prescribed while in the hospital. Additionally, social activities are incorporated and including large group and small group gatherings to watch television, listen to music, and play games. Nurses assist patients in adjusting to the routine while being evaluated and treated for their individual disorders.
Psychiatric Nursing in a Long-Term Care Facility
Nurses admit patients with serious mental health challenges to a facility that provides care for their needs. However, nursing graduates interested in a patient residency occupation may prefer to work on a daily basis with patients who remain indefinitely. The consistency of care facilitates a bond between nurse and patient. Furthermore, this bond provides stability to the environment and establishes security for the patient.
Long-term care poses special challenges to psychiatric patients. First, a nurse must be able to recognize the patient’s usual behavior as well as identify signs of change. Nurses report changes to the doctor. Medical or psychiatric treatments may involve physical or chemical options. Additionally, patients often need help with daily self-care and common activities like eating, toileting, and socializing. Nurses must be patient, flexible, and also accommodating to a diverse range of patients of all ages.
Why is Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Important?
Mental health nursing and psychiatric nursing are important careers. These specialties provide interesting opportunities to help patients in the community and in both short-term and long-term settings. Nurses in this field of specialization often report feelings of gratification and fulfillment in helping mentally, emotionally, and psychologically challenged people enjoy a significant quality of life.