Mental health nursing, also known as psychiatric nursing, is a specialized field of nursing practice that involves the care of individuals with a mental health disorder to help them recover and improve their quality of life.
Mental health nurses have advanced knowledge of the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychiatric disorders that helps them provide specialized care. They typically work alongside other health professionals in a medical team with the aim of providing the optimal clinical outcomes for the patient.
Mental illness can affect individuals of any age, ethnic origin, or socioeconomic status. For this reason, a mental health nurse may need to work with many different individuals from various backgrounds.
A mental health nurse is responsible for the
- Assessment and evaluation of the patient’s mental health
- Development of treatment care plan
- Consultation with other health professionals about treatment plan
- Provision of care and psychotherapy treatment
- Maintenance of medical records
- Support and education to the patients and their family
This primary role of a mental health nurse is to provide care to patients with a psychiatric disorder, mental health issue, or behavioral problems. Many of the tasks performed by a mental health nurse are similar to that of a psychiatrist and include diagnosis, psychotherapy, and prescription of medications.
Some mental health nurses also choose to specialize further, such as in the management of individuals with a psychiatric disorder of a certain age or association. These may include pediatrics, adolescents, geriatrics, substance abuse, and eating disorders.
Mental health nurses may work in a range of environments, depending on the position and the role that they play. This includes hospitals, psychiatric practices, substance abuse programs, in-home care services, and community agencies.
People with mental health problems do not always get the help they need. Often symptoms are not recognised and services have suffered from a lack of funding. Though improving, there is still stigma about having a mental illness. The Ideal Academy of Nursing Education is continually working to empower our students in a variety of ways to tackle these issues.