Many people hear the words ‘psychiatric nurse’, and only one thing comes to mind: a stern-looking nurse that stands beside the doctor. In actuality, it takes a lot more to be a psychiatric mental health practitioner. In fact, there’s more than one specialty they can opt for within the field.
Altogether, these licensed healthcare providers assess, diagnose, and treat various medical conditions that cripple the mind. They also care for and observe the patients, help them with daily activities such as washing and eating, and encourage them to participate in their therapy programs. If you want to become a mental health nurse, then here are a few jobs you can specialize in.
1. Geriatric Psychiatry
This area solely focuses on assessing, diagnosing, and treating any mental illness in older adults. Delving into this field means that you’ll be dealing with conditions like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression as well as addiction. Besides handling the administration of medication, you’ll have to offer counseling when the need arises. For the most part, many older adults have Alzheimer’s and other related dementias.
In conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, a team led by Dr. Marc Flajolet are on the way to finding a cure. The nonprofit organization has its base at Fisher Center lab at the Rockefeller University, and its mission is to have a deeper understanding of the disease. They equally support organizations all over the world with the common aim of finding a cure.
2. Psychosomatic Medicine
Nurses in this area don’t only deal with mental health disorders; think of them as practitioners who deal with issues on the border of physical and mental illnesses. The scope of their work involves conducting medical capacity assessments and handling substance abuse problems, among other situations and conditions. There’s quite a lot involved in this area, as you’ll probably find out during the course of your PMHNP program (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program).
That’s one major reason you need to get a good education at a certified and prestigious learning institution. One such place is Wilkes University, which has one of the top programs for anyone looking to become a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. Besides their on-site programs, full-time students can also opt for an online program that’s both informative and flexible enough to equip them with a viable skillset.
3. Forensic Psychiatry
This next role is where things get a bit more interesting. It’s practically something you’d see on the big screen. In a nutshell, this particular area is a bit of two worlds. Professionals in this specialized field will have to deal with the crossover between mental health care and the legal system.
A lot of the work here will involve testifying in the court of law based on your expertise. In addition to that, you’d have to make assessments to determine whether certain witnesses are fit to testify or serve prison time for their crimes. If you choose to tread this path, there are several places you can work. Generally speaking, you’ll probably be stationed at a court, hospital, correctional facilities, and a range of private establishments.
4. Military Psychiatry
Military personnel often have to deal with the harsh realities they experienced during the war. Being a practitioner in this area will do worlds of good as these officers often suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress.
In that case, you’ll have to develop treatment plans to tackle a wide range of conditions that come as an occupational hazard. Altogether, if you choose this route, you’ll also have to offer your services in a variety of settings, some of which include Veteran Affairs hospitals.
Psychiatric nursing is a much more diverse field than most people seem to realize. If you’re interested in the field, you have plenty of specialties you can choose from.