What You Need To Study Psychiatric Nursing

What You Need To Study Psychiatric Nursing

There are many opportunities in mental health nursing, salaries are impressive, and the work is always interesting, so it won’t surprise you that a lot of people are keen to study in this area. If it’s a career you want to pursue, what will you need in order to access a course and get qualified?

What You Need To Study Psychiatric Nursing

An entry-level nursing qualification

Psychiatric nursing is a specialty, so you will need to start out by developing your basic nursing skills. There are several different qualifications you can use for this, taking between 18 months and four years of study, though with shorter courses you’ll normally need to acquire supplementary experience as well. Studying science subjects at high school will help you get onto a good course. Your nursing studies will also help you to develop the interpersonal skills that you’ll need to work in mental health.

An RN license

After you’ve completed your initial nurse practitioner schooling, you’ll need to take your RN licensing or NCLEX exam. A pass will make it possible for you to work as a nurse anywhere in the US or Canada. If you don’t pass first time, don’t panic – you’ll have the option of trying again and there are lots of short courses you can take in the meantime to improve your performance in areas that you find difficult. Volunteering for a mental health charity or support group can also be a useful way to improve your prospects.

At least 500 hours of clinical experience

No amount of education will prepare you for dealing with challenging situations on the wards if you lack experience. That’s why it’s vital for you to spend time working in a clinical context before you can start training as a psychiatric nurse. Would-be mental health nurses are encouraged to spend as much of that time as possible – and at least 500 hours – in psychiatric settings. It’s a good idea to try and focus this in the area where you’d like to go on to specialize, such as geriatrics or pediatrics.

The right attitude

If you’re going to make a success of your psychiatric nursing course, you’ll need more than just the right background – you’ll need the right temperament. Patience and a willingness to do difficult emotional work when others can’t manage it is essential to mental health nursing. You’ll need to demonstrate that you’re strongly committed to the work and that you have the empathy needed to build up supportive relationships with patients and win their trust.

When you’re accepted onto a course, you’ll have a lot of hard work ahead, but also a lot to look forward to. Psychiatric nursing careers also offer lots of opportunities for further study, enabling you to specialize further if you find that you want to, or even develop your own area of research, all without having to halt the work you love. This is an exciting profession that practitioners feel really passionate about and qualifying will give you the chance to discover its rewards for yourself.

Funny Psychiatric Nursing Cartoon

• Meet the Author • Dr. Lawrence Kindo

I am a Medical Professional with a passion for writing, blogging, playing, computers, and of course patient care. My writing in this medical blog will reflect my passion, and you are welcome to be a part of this venture. This medical blog is a tribute to all the great medical pioneers, and to the ultimate source of wisdom, God.

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