Working in psych
What Does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Actually Do?
As with most fields in nursing, what Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners can do and what they may do varies across the country and with each board of nursing. But here are some general duties of a practitioner:
- Taking histories and doing physical and mental examinations and assessments
- Screening for mental health issues
- Interpreting diagnostic and lab tests
- Diagnosing psychiatric disorders and mental conditions, distinguishing between mental conditions that can cause psychiatric symptoms
- Therapy for individuals, families or groups
- Treatment of certain medical issues
- Education and public awareness of mental illness
- Monitoring patient medications and treatment
- Working on preventative health programs
- Referring patients to specialists for areas outside the practitioner’s scope
- Working with other healthcare practitioners to provide care
- Teaching other nurses
As you can see, the job description differs significantly from that of the nurses who work on the floor with the patients. There is hands-on work, but at a different level.
Marijke is a professional writer who began her working career as a registered nurse over 25 years ago. After working in clinical areas ranging from rehab to intensive care, as a floor nurse to a supervisor, she found she could combine her extensive health knowledge with her love of writing. Although she has been published in a wide variety of publications for professionals and the general public, her passion is writing for the every day person to promote health literacy.
By Marijke Durning