Nurses are known for their hard work and ability to care for others. Mental health nurses have special skills that allow them to care for patients who are suffering from mental health conditions. Mental health nursing is an interesting career option where you help patients in a personal way. With mental health issues on the rise, mental health nursing is a field that is almost certain to continue growing in the future. If you are considering pursuing a career in mental health nursing, check out the following to learn more about the duties of a mental health nurse and how to get into the field.
Mental health is a growing concern
Some studies show that mental health conditions in the US are increasing. Mental health professionals sometimes believe that this might be due to an increase in people recognizing that they are experiencing mental health difficulties or they are perceiving the effects more now. Factors that might contribute to this include high rates of unemployment, generational economic hardships, and increased isolation in the modern world.
People with mental health issues are often stigmatized or marginalized. What many people do not realize is that mental health conditions happen to people from any culture, religion, ethnicity, or socio-economic background. Recognizing a need for mental health treatment is difficult for most patients. These individuals typically need more than a new exercise routine or other simple solution to bounce back to feeling well. When the patient realizes their need for help from medical professionals, they are one step closer to recovery.
Mental health nursing roles
Because of the increasing focus on mental health conditions, there is a greater need for caring and qualified mental health professionals. Imagine a fulfilling career helping people who are suffering from mental health conditions. Mental health nursing is an excellent career path in the mental health specialty.
Mental health nurses fit within the specialized branch of nursing that focuses on caring for people with mental health conditions. In this role, nurses work with patients to promote emotional health, psychological health, and physical wellbeing. Mental health nurses often work hand-in-hand with patients to understand their condition, help manage symptoms, and learn what increases the symptoms of their mental health condition. Mental health nurses assist patients to manage conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Nursing in the specialized field of mental health offers variety in your daily tasks and requires skills such as mental health assessment, interventions, counseling, psychotherapy, medication management, patient care, and education. You will be caring for patients with sometimes urgent and critical needs. In the process, you will build a rapport with them and respond promptly to their emotional and physical needs. When you administer medications, you then monitor their results.
A skilled mental health nurse will become an expert at deescalating stressful situations that arise as they help patients overcome their specific challenges. Many mental health nurses find it enjoyable to organize group therapy sessions or social events that are intended to help patients with their mental recovery, and encourage them to take up stress-reducing hobbies. Seeing patients recover is often the most rewarding part of this career.
Mental health nurses work collaboratively with doctors, psychologists, and other nurses. In this role, you will also typically communicate with the patient’s family by sharing information and offering advice about the patient’s condition.
How to get into mental health nursing
Getting into the field of mental health nursing typically begins with earning your degree. Consider earning an online master’s in nursing with a specialty in mental health. This will ensure that you have the required initial credentials to begin your career in this focused medical role. You will typically be eligible to work in most mental health settings. With the right education, you are able to begin gaining skills and experience.
Medical licensing, requirements, and other steps toward a career in any medical role often vary by state. Learn more about what is relevant to the career that interests you in your state before you begin course work. Contact the state board where you live to learn more about titles, requirements for advanced nursing licenses, and scope of practice.
With an increasing amount of people suffering from mental health issues, medical professionals in the field of mental health are necessary. Mental health nursing is a focused role that allows for a variety of opportunities. If you have an interest in mental health nursing, the first step to beginning your career is earning your education. Seek out a highly esteemed university that offers this specialty program and check with your state board to learn about specific requirements where you live. Once you have completed your education, you are well on your way to a fulfilling career helping others as a mental health nurse.