Nursing School for Psychiatric/Mental Health RNs

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurses comprise an elite group of specially trained and equipped RNs. This patient population requires healthcare guidance from very skilled RNs. The work environment is innately bundled with risks so nurses pursuing this field of nursing must be armed with the necessary skills and experience to thrive and provide care. Here is patient advocacy at its best.

RNs in Psych nursing environments are responsible for care for a patient population not commonly able to speak for themselves. The nurse bridges the gap between healthcare systems and patient needs. Many Psychiatric RNs tend to patients long-term, and during this time have the opportunity to plan and implement patient outcomes.

Degrees in Psych-Mental Health Nursing

Nursing school degree programs for psychiatric/mental health nurses tend to be at the post-grad level:

  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist is at the top of the nursing field. This professional RN is capable of providing advanced nursing care, and strategies for patient continuing care. A candidate for this degree program will study at the graduate level, so a BSN is required. During the course of this study you get core curriculum in Masters Nursing and then intensive study in the Clinical Nurse Specialist concentration as well as further coursework to satisfy the Psychiatric/Mental Health concentration. Plan on between 2 and 3 years of full-time study.
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is one of the leading advanced practice degrees for RNs, as well. An NP already is in a position to provide primary care independently of a physician, including long-term patient-provider relationships. Add to this a specialty in psychiatric nursing and you’ve got an ultra-specialized practitioner.
  • MSN Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse is not as common a degree. Students in this program get training and clinicals in the core MSN curriculum before being intensely immersed in the psych-mental health coursework.

Curriculum includes:

  • At-Risk and Underserved Populations
  • Advanced Patient Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Issues in Psychiatric Healthcare
  • Advanced pharmacology and Prescription Management
  • Nursing Interventions (adult, family, child)
  • Clinical/Practicum
  • Thesis

Psych/Mental Health nursing specialists may go to work in hospitals, Emergency Departments, outpatient clinics, corrections, public schools, public health departments, and more.

Advanced credentialing is urged of all advanced practice RNs. To these ends the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) serves the Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Certification exam that delivers the RN Board Certified credential. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association provides professional support and resources for RNs working in this exciting and challenging specialty.

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