Psychiatric Nurse

Last Updated:
April 27, 2023

Job Description Overview

A psychiatric nurse takes care of patients who are facing mental health disorders. As the name implies, they work in a psychiatric setting and help patients in managing their mental health issues. This job is a great opportunity for nurses who are interested in specialized care.

The role of a psychiatric nurse is diverse and challenging. They work in close coordination with the healthcare team to determine the appropriate course of treatment for patients. This may involve administering medications, providing counseling, and monitoring the behavior and emotional well-being of patients. They also educate patients on how to manage their mental health issues and interact with family members to help them understand the condition of their loved ones.

To become a psychiatric nurse, you need to have a degree in nursing and a specific certification for psychiatric nursing. You also need to have excellent communication skills, a calm demeanor, and the ability to work in high-stress environments. If you're looking for a rewarding career in the healthcare industry, a psychiatric nurse job description is one to consider.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Understand and evaluate mental health disorders
  • Develop care plans and treatment goals for patients
  • Administer medications and monitor side effects
  • Provide therapeutic interventions and counseling for patients and families
  • Monitor patient behaviors and report any changes to the treatment team
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care
  • Maintain patient confidentiality and privacy
  • Educate patients and families on mental health disorders, treatment options, and community resources
  • Conduct patient assessments and screenings for potential mental health disorders.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a psychiatric nurse in the healthcare industry, you need to first complete your nursing education. You can get a diploma, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) degree. Then, you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to get licensed as a registered nurse (RN). After that, you should have work experience in a healthcare facility before specializing in psychiatric nursing. This allows you to work with patients who have mental health disorders and help them get better through therapy and medication. With the right education and experience, you can make a difference in people's lives as a psychiatric nurse.

Salary Range

The expected salary range for a Psychiatric Nurse in the healthcare industry varies by location and experience level. For example, in the United States, the average salary for a Psychiatric Nurse is around $80,000 per year, according to Payscale. However, this can range from $50,000 to $120,000 annually depending on the state, the employer, and the individual's qualifications. In Canada, the average salary range is similar, with Psychiatric Nurses earning between $60,000 and $90,000 per year. It's important to note that these figures are constantly changing and can vary based on factors like education, certifications, experience, and demand.


  • Payscale:
  • SalaryExpert:
  • Nurse Journal:

Career Outlook

If you're interested in becoming a psychiatric nurse, you're in luck! The career outlook for psychiatric nurses is looking bright over the next five years. With an increase in mental health awareness and a growing aging population, the demand for psychiatric nurses is on the rise.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of registered nurses (which includes psychiatric nurses) is projected to grow by 12% from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

In addition, the American Nurses Association reports that the shortage of nurses, including psychiatric nurses, continues to be a problem, which means there will continue to be opportunities for those entering the field.

All in all, the outlook for psychiatric nurses over the next five years is a positive one, with a growing demand for their specialized skills and expertise.


Bureau of Labor Statistics:

American Nurses Association:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Psychiatric Nurse do?

A: A Psychiatric Nurse is responsible for providing mental health care to patients experiencing psychiatric disorders or mental health issues.

Q: What qualifications are required for a Psychiatric Nurse?

A: A Psychiatric Nurse must have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing or an Associate Degree in Nursing with a focus on psychiatric nursing, as well as a license to practice nursing.

Q: What are the daily duties of a Psychiatric Nurse?

A: Typical duties include administering medication, monitoring the progress of patients, assessing patients, counseling patients, and collaborating with other healthcare professionals.

Q: Where do Psychiatric Nurses work?

A: Psychiatric Nurses can work in a variety of settings, including mental health facilities, healthcare facilities, correctional institutions, schools, and in patients’ homes.

Q: What are some challenges that Psychiatric Nurses face?

A: Psychiatric Nurses may deal with patients suffering from severe mental illness, such as depression or schizophrenia, which can be challenging to manage. Additionally, Psychiatric Nurses may face stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental illness.

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