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Role of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse
in Modern Healthcare Systems

Role of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse

Mental health refers to the psychological, behavioral, or emotional well-being of an individual. It refers to how a person reacts or feels when they experience any life situation. Mental health is equally important as physical health. Many countries today acknowledge the importance of mental health issues. However, many people still suffer severely from mental health illness due to stigma.

The modern healthcare system recognizes the importance of mental health and takes measures to provide the best quality care. That is where a psychiatric mental health nurse comes in. With their advanced knowledge, skills, and expertise, these nurses help patients with mental health illnesses. They help them get the proper treatment and step up on the road to wellness.

Do you wish to be a part of the healthcare system and help mental health patients? Below is a comprehensive guide that answers all your questions:

Educational Path

Below is a step-by-step guide that can help you understand how to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP):

  • Like any other nursing specialization, you must first earn BSN or ADN degree to become a registered nurse
  • By earning a BSN degree, you will be eligible to take the NCLEX-RN examination. Passing this official licensing examination will allow you to acquire a state license
  • Your next step is to gain clinical experience, which requires you to complete 500 faculty-supervised hours. Gaining clinical experience is necessary before you enroll in the master's program
  • Take your nursing career to the next level by enrolling in masters of nursing nurse practitioner program and learning the latest treatment methods and knowledge. Make sure your postgraduate degree program must have reliable accreditation to ensure the program meets education standards
  • To further broaden your professional career, you must apply for and pass Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification. The American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) administers PMHNP certification. Moreover, certification requirements and exams may vary from state to state, and you need to renew your certification every five years
  • Once you have gained the certification, you are ready to apply for employment in various healthcare settings

Job Duties

The job duties of a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) may differ depending on the work settings. Some typical responsibilities may include:

  • Conduct a thorough physical and mental health assessment of the patient
  • Study medical history and diagnose the mental illness
  • Design the best treatment plan
  • Prescribe medications to the patients
  • Educate the patients and their families about the treatment plan
  • Engage individual, group, or family in psychotherapy
  • Coordinate with other health professionals for offering the best quality care to the patients
  • Offer medical health education to the community and medical staff
  • Participate in ongoing training and case reviews
  • Offer consultation to other clinical staff


As a psychiatric mental health nurse, you will deal the patients with mental disorders, and your job will be demanding. Therefore, apart from the right education, you must also hone professional skills to manage stress and perform best at your work. Below is the list of skills that every psychiatric nurse must have:

  1. Compassionate
    Suppose you are passionate about making a career in this field and helping people experiencing psychiatric issues. You must empathize and be compassionate with your patients. Only then can you offer the best treatment. Your compassion will be what makes your patients feel comfortable with you while sharing their problems.
  2. Communication
    Communication is exceptionally crucial for the nursing profession, but it is more so vital to PMHNP. Without effective communication, it's impossible to understand your patients' dilemma and take suitable measures to help them. Therefore, make sure to stay attentive while listening to what your patient has to say. You must be clear when giving out any instructions or guiding them.
  3. Problem-Solving
    It doesn't matter at which stage your patient is in the treatment process. They might encounter some problems now and then. As a professional nurse, you have to analyze the situation effectively to solve their problems. Good problem-solving skills will allow you to use logic to address the issue without being overwhelmed it.

Work Settings and Job Outlook

After learning how to become PMHNP and their role, your next question must be: Where can you find employment? There are several working environments apart from hospitals and private clinical practices. Thus, PMHNP may find jobs in other places, including mental health centers, government agencies, rehabilitation centers, schools, etc.

No matter the specialty, nurse practitioners are in high demand worldwide. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook of nurse practitioners would grow by 45% from 2020 to 2030. Furthermore, there is an increasing demand for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners due to increased mental health cases.

Summing up

According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, around 1 billion people have mental health disorders worldwide. The staggering number of mental health disorder among people continue to worsen with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, it becomes more and more critical for healthcare providers to take the initiative and offer effective treatment. Therefore, psychiatric mental health practitioners apply a holistic approach to diagnose and treat mental health patients. By pursuing this career, you can become an integral part of the patient's life and make a significant positive impact.

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