Everything You Need To Know About Psychiatric Nursing

Everything You Need To Know About Psychiatric Nursing
Everything You Need To Know About Psychiatric Nursing

Psychiatric Nursing helps patients eliminate recurring panic attacks by using understanding and empathy to begin healing. Due to the nature of mental illness, it’s considered the most challenging illness to treat and difficult to detect for many patients. In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about psychiatric nursing including the job description, responsibilities, and work settings. 

The Definition of A Psychiatric Nurse

Psychiatric nurses are professionals who specialize in mental health assessment, crisis intervention, patient assistance, and medication and therapy within a psychiatric setting. Due to the nature of this career,  they work closely with patients to help treat and manage their mental health conditions and improve their overall quality of life. 

Some mental illnesses treated by Psychiatric Nurse including:

  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

Psychiatric Nurses’ Responsibilities

Psychiatric nurses take care of individuals, families, and communities to evaluate their mental health needs and help them improve and manage their mental illness. As a psychiatric nurse, you will work as part of a treatment team to provide well-rounded recovery plans for patients aiming to help them have a better life. You also diagnose patients, develop plans of care and supervise the care of a mental health patient.

Psychiatric Nurses’ Responsibilities
Psychiatric Nurses’ Responsibilities

Psychiatric Nurses perform different responsibilities depending on the environment they work in. For example, in a hospital setting, they assist psychiatrists and other physicians to develop and administer a treatment plan for mental health care patients. When advancing to a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you will perform more roles like diagnosing, creating treatment plans, and offering psychotherapy.

Below are additional duties you need to complete  when working as a psychiatric nurse 

Interview and assess patients to understand their health history, symptoms, and lifestyle

Provide counseling to patients and their families to help them understand and deal with mental illness:

  • Administer medications
  • Develop care plans and monitor treatment regimens
  • Assess and diagnose mental health conditions
  • Perform and interpret diagnostic tests
  • Implement crisis intervention

The Work Places of Psychiatric Nurses

The Work Places of Psychiatric Nurses
The Work Places of Psychiatric Nurses

Like other healthcare professions, Psychiatric Nurses have 2 options including inpatient and outpatient care. Typically, they work in environments such as hospitals, home healthcare organizations, prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and outpatient mental health organizations. As a psychiatric registered nurse or advanced practice psychiatric nurse (APPN), you can work in both inpatient and outpatient settings. However, APPNs are more independent so they can work with a wider variety of patients on their own.

Salary and Job Outlook of Psychiatric Nurses

The median annual income for psychiatric nurses or substance abuse nurses is $73,590. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners earn an average salary of $105,658 per year according to the Payscale report in February 2020. Therefore, Psychiatric Nursing is considered one of the highest-paying nurse careers.

The BLS also predicts that the job outlook of psychiatric nurses can grow by 26% by 2020. This is a faster rate than the average growth in medical careers and other careers across the country.


Psychiatric Nursing is considered a difficult career because not every patient will get the best treatments and they need a long-term healing period. Besides, you must pass extensive training and complete education requirements. However, becoming a psychiatric nurse is also a meaningful and rewarding option you can consider to be a light in the dark of mental illness.