We all have a purpose in life, a dream to become successful, and pursue a career we love. For some, it may be becoming an artist, for others, it may be working at Wall Street, but for me it was joining the healthcare sector and working as a Psychiatric nurse. My choice of joining the healthcare sector was not just based upon facts, but also stemmed from my passion and desire to help people in need.
With so many nursing specialties out there, picking a nursing occupation was tough. However, some research into the field helped me decide to go for psychiatric nursing. This branch of nursing basically deals with providing healthcare services to patients with mental disorders. Psychiatric nurses provide cure, treatments, and medications to the mentally ill.
A Challenging Field
Helping mentally ill patients can be very difficult and challenging, as this area demands a lot of communication and interaction. A physical wound may be somewhat manageable and treatable, buy healing a soul demands a lot. By entering the psychiatric nursing field, I knew I would be able to help many and fulfill my career goal. On the other hand, research has shown that psychiatric nursing is on the rise and will expect an increase in demand for skilled nurses.
Academic Routes for Nursing
I prepared myself for a career in mental health nursing by completing my LPN and RN degree. These are two basic nursing programs that are very popular. Both programs are designed to prepare students for general nursing professions.
I developed a solid understanding of what nursing was all about, and what the basic nursing concepts were. Along with the theoretical knowledge, I also gained plenty of practical experience. It is important to be able to perform basic nursing tasks such as checking vital signs and administering drugs. One can only learn how to do this by nursing training and hands on experience. After completing my LPN and RN degree, I appeared for the National Council Licensure Examination and successfully cleared the test. Although I received my license, I continued my education and prepared for a nursing career in the mental health field.
A Bachelor in science of nursing is the minimum requirement for becoming a mental health nurse. This is a four year undergraduate program that entails advanced courses and specialization areas. I studied various subjects such as management, types of psychiatric conditions, advanced physiology, group therapies, advanced health assessment, psychopharmacology, and diagnostic reasoning. These courses helped build my knowledge in the specific area of psychiatric nursing. I learned how to evaluate and diagnose various mental illnesses. Apart from this, I also gained hands-on experience by practicing in labs and completing a specific number of clinical hours at a local mental health center.
Mental Health Nursing Certification
Getting certified as a mental health nurse was the last goal on my academic list. I completed a mental health nursing certification and successfully registered with the American Nurses Credentialing center. The program was very job oriented and provided me in-depth information of what kind of tasks I needed to master to become a metal health nurse. I developed strong communication skills, analytical skills, and diagnostic skills through the program. Certification is necessary as it reflects an individualâ€™s expertise in a certain medical field. A minimum of 500 clinical hours are necessary to be eligible for the competency examination.
My Nursing Career
Upon receiving my certification and license, I was immediately hired by a mental health facility. My career turned out to be more fulfilling than I had expected. I successfully put my knowledge and skills to use and helped many families and individuals. From patients with bi-polar disorders to the ones suffering from severe depression, I got a chance to work with many. Currently my income level as a nurse is $72,000; this figure is expected to increase with more experience and time.
Kim Lee is a published journalist & blogger for Excite Education. Here, he brings to us the real life story of a psychiatric nurse who feels fulfilled by her nursing career.