Nursing students often decide to get into the field because they have a desire to take care of others. While physical health is unquestionably important, so is mental health. October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which is a good time to shed some light on the critical role played by psychiatric nurses.
“Psychiatric nurses have a deep understanding of the mental and physical effects that stress, anxiety and trauma can have on healthcare professionals,” said Kathleen Donahue, assistant dean of St. Paul’s School of Nursing in Queens, N.Y., and president-elect of the New York State American Psychiatric Nurses Association (NYS APNA).
Donahue has served as a psychiatric nurse in the New York area for nearly four decades, treating and caring for patients with mental health issues while advocating for relationship-based care. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings throughout her career, including home care, research, clinical nurse specialist and director of nursing.
The pandemic has increased the need for proper mental health for patients and nurses alike. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5% from August 2020 to February 2021.
Psychiatric nurses make up the second largest group of behavioral health professionals in the U.S., according to the APNA. Nurses work alongside psychiatric teams in a variety of settings such as hospitals, outpatient centers, residential facilities, and clinics, providing mental health care for individuals and their families.
While every day will be different, daily tasks may include partnering with individuals to achieve their recovery goals, providing health promotion and maintenance, conducting intake screening, evaluation, and triage, providing case management, teaching self-care activities, and practicing crisis intervention.
While being a psychiatric nurse is a demanding job, it can be a fulfilling career because you are helping patients at a time when they may not be able to help themselves. You can provide the healing and recovery a patient needs to live a vibrant, successful life.
Psychiatric nurses transform lives, and the career path starts by becoming an RN. If this line of work sounds interesting to you, Fortis can help. Click here for more information on our nursing programs or call us today at (855) 436-7847 and speak to one of our career counselors.