Table of Contents
Many people may look at nursing, particularly mental health or psychiatric nursing, and wonder whether the rewards compensate for the challenges. It’s true that all medical careers are hard work, with long hours and frequently demanding, high-stakes tasks to fulfill. But for the right person, the benefits they get from doing their job well more than make it worthwhile.
Reasons To Choose Psychiatric Nursing
One of the first things to be aware of is that once you qualify as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP), you can expect a high level of job security as qualified practitioners are very much in demand. The pressures of modern life, plus improved levels of diagnosis, have led to a rising number of people requiring mental health care, either on a one-off, short or long-term basis. There is also far less stigma attached to needing mental health care than there once was.
The high demand for qualified PMHNPs also means that you may be able to move around in your career, working in different roles and seeing all sides of the profession. Mental health care covers a wide range of issues, from conditions like autism and schizophrenia to eating disorders and substance abuse. You may find work within a clinic or institution, seeing different patients every day, or work with the same client closely over the course of their life.
Psychiatric nursing is a highly skilled role, and putting these skills to use is rewarding. However, it also means that you will likely be able to command a generous PMHNP salary. You’ll need to gain nursing experience, probably as an unpaid intern initially, and academic qualifications. This may mean an associate, bachelors, or master’s degree in nursing, plus maybe a post-graduate or Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) certificate. Obviously, the better qualified you are, the higher salary you’ll be able to expect.
A caring profession
Helping people in times of difficulty is the most rewarding aspect of all kinds of nursing. As a psychiatric nurse, you’ll often see people at their most vulnerable, but you’ll also develop a close connection as you help them overcome or cope with mental health issues. Knowing that you’re making an enormous difference to both societies as a whole and to individual lives can generate a massive amount of job satisfaction.
In psychiatric nursing, there’s always a new challenge to be met. Each patient’s needs are different, but they will all demand the utmost patience, tenacity, and attention to detail. You’ll be building positive relationships, spending hours interacting and getting to know them, and delivering regular, specialized care. There’s certainly no chance to switch onto autopilot and get bored!
Mental health and Psychiatric nursing require huge amounts of patience, enthusiasm, and resilience. You need to be level-headed, adaptable, thick-skinned, and extremely caring. As a career, it isn’t for everyone. But for those who do feel called it is not only the most rewarding path but the only one they could imagine taking.