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Often referred to as psychiatric nursing, mental health nursing is a professional discipline that focuses on providing care to people suffering from mental illnesses. Mental health nurses assist patients in healing and enhance their overall wellbeing. They possess an extensive understanding of how mental health works.

In a society where people prefer to steer clear of mental health discussions, these nurses offer a sigh of relief to the ones suffering. They are trained to evaluate patients, devise treatment plans, and practice therapy on them. Commonly, they work as a team with other healthcare experts to provide the best medical results to their patients.

Over time, the demand for mental health nurses has substantially increased. Technological evolution and the COVID-19 pandemic are two of the many reasons people are now seeking help to cope with their cognitive difficulties. To address the rising demand, more people are stepping into the mental health industry as nurses. However, this field of work isn’t for everybody. To deal with all kinds of grieving, savage, outrageous, aggressive, and dangerous patients, mental health nurses need to possess specific skill sets. It would help if you kept reading to learn more about their responsibilities and tasks.

How to Become a Mental Health Nurse

If you’ve made up your mind regarding mental health nursing as a career, the first question you should be asking is how to become a mental health nurse? Here’s how. Primarily, assess yourself to see whether you have the right skill set for this job or not. Remember, nurses have to be patient, non-judgmental, and compassionate at all costs, especially mental health ones. You’ll have to function in highly emotional environments and work with utmost dedication to gain the patient’s trust. Moving towards the necessary qualification, depending on your State’s requirements, you’ll have to complete a degree or diploma in nursing (or healthcare with the relevant concentration). The next step is to gain the necessary experience and advanced certifications. Once you get done with that, you’re all set to go.

What Are The Functions Of A Mental Health Nurse?

The responsibilities of mental health nurses differ from patient to patient considering the individual’s condition and current situation. Read on to gain a broader perspective.

  1. Assessment Of Patient’s Current Mental State

The initial function of mental health nurses is to assess and evaluate a patient’s mental condition to proceed with the appropriate treatment plan. It is accomplished by interviewing the patient and their family and documenting pertinent medical and behavioral history. Several mental state evaluations and psychological tests are also conducted to fill out the treatment.

  1. Obtaining The Patient’s Trust

Most people struggling with mental health are not in the right state to recognize or accept a helping hand. Some can be least cooperative and make it severely difficult for nurses to proceed with the treatment. Mental health nurses are supposed to have excellent communication skills to emotionally connect with the patient and help them understand the importance of treatment. Only that way will they work together and make the nurse’s job slightly more manageable.

  1. Design Treatment Plans

Based on the initial assessment of the patient, mental health nurses construct treatment plans in collaboration with other medical professionals. The plan may include medication schedules, different therapies (discussions, art, role-play, etc.), setting goals, and progress evaluations checks. Depending on how the patient reacts to the plan, it can get modified from time to time.

  1. Provision Of Psychotherapy Treatment

Patients arrive at a psychiatric institution suffering from a variety of ailments. Anxiety, depression, PTSD, mania, OCD, panic, addictions, phobias, eating disorders, dual personality, and more common ones are listed below. A mental health nurse employs a suitable type of psychotherapy treatment for each of these conditions. In psychotherapy, the patient communicates with the assessor and learns about their feelings, moods, and thoughts and how they affect their behavior.

  1. Support And Educate The Patient And Their Family

A mental health nurse is required to feed everything to the patient in layman’s terms. Educating them about their condition can help the patient recognize the root cause of their problems and overcome them. Nurses may need additional support to bring back the patient’s will to live and get better. Moreover, the nurse must also educate the family regarding how they can help the patient get better and recognize the signs of trouble on a timely basis. This education may include frequently checking in with the patient and their school or social environment, instill compassion for others, and promote positive behavior and decision-making. Mental health nurses also have a responsibility to create mental health awareness within their community.

The Bottom Line

The demand for mental health nurses is increasing by the day as the public is developing more interest in seeking help. Another reason can be the health coverage provided by the State. However, people stepping into this discipline get constantly surrounded by physical and emotional challenges. The job of mental health nurses is severely fatiguing but also a highly rewarding one. Genuinely compassionate people are encouraged to pursue a career in mental health nursing. Communication and interpersonal skills are also critically important in this line of work. No matter how daunting the job gets, it’s the recovering patients that’ll keep you going at the end of the day.