How does someone become a psychiatric nurse

Psychiatric NPs assess and diagnose patients, provide psychotherapy and prescribe medication. They treat patients with diagnosed disorders, as well as those with family histories or other factors that increase the likelihood of potential mental illness. In keeping with nurse practitioners’ holistic approach to health care, psychiatric nurse practitioners educate and inform patients and their families about mental health issues and steps they can take to boost their care.

Typical duties for a psychiatric NP include assessing and diagnosing mental health problems like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or dementia; other patients may struggle with grief, anger, adjustment issues or other conditions. Diagnostic steps for these problems include recording a patient’s verbal history, performing a physical exam and ordering diagnostic tests. When a diagnosis is made, the nurse practitioner develops and manages a treatment plan, prescribing medication and administering psychotherapy as necessary. Nurses treat patients one-on-one or in group settings with family members or other patients.