We have 94 Mental Health Nursing Programs in our database.

Psychiatric and mental health nursing (PMHN) is a specialized field of nursing that necessitates using a very specific skill set. These nurses work with people of all ages with varying degrees of mental illness.

See all 94 Mental Health Nursing programs in our directory

Psychiatric and mental health registered nurses tend to work on psychiatric units of a hospital or within the community. They assess mental health status, create nursing plans, make referrals for further mental health care and evaluate the effectiveness of the nursing care. They can administer medication and facilitate group-counseling sessions.

Advanced practice psychiatric nurses assess, diagnose and treat people with mental health illnesses. They may practice psychotherapy and prescribe medication. APRNs must earn a Master of Science in Nursing degree and pass their board certification exam in psychiatric care. An advanced psychiatric nurse practitioner can continue her education and earn a Doctorate in nursing degree as well. Many psych nurses go on to teach at the University level or perform research projects.

Becoming a psychiatric or mental health nurse requires that the nurse learn very specific skills, such as establishing a therapeutic relationship, handling challenging communication and behavior, and psychological treatment modalities. The particulars of psychiatric medications, including when and how to administer the different drugs, is an important skill as well.

If interested, the PMHN can go on to pursue her certification with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). To be eligible to sit for the exam, the nurse must have an active nursing license, a minimum of 2000 hours of direct psychiatric nursing experience, and at least 30 hours of continuing education credit.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) is the main professional organization representing psychiatric nurses and nurse practitioners. They administer continuing education credits and present the latest research studies. There is also an international professional organization, the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses, that provide support and education to mental health nurses around the world. Check out their website, and click here for more information.