Nursing Career Profile: Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

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Where the jobs are:

Psych mental health nurses who have an MSN and are licensed as psychiatric nurse practitioners are in high demand and practice in many different types of facilities. As mid-level providers, psych nurse practitioners provide care almost anywhere a psychiatrist might be used and often manage medication for less acutely ill, or simply more stable clients. Psychiatric nurse practitioners are often employed in community mental health facilities where they prescribe, assess and manage medication needs and symptom control for a large number of clients.

In addition, psychiatric nurse practitioners are also able to see clients in private practice and may specialize in the treatment of specific conditions such as trauma, self injury, childhood history of abuse, substance abuse or eating disorders.

Job characteristics and specialized responsibilities:

Psychiatric nurse practitioners diagnose and treat mental illness across the life span. They may provide talk therapy for clients in addition to prescribing medication. They may refer clients for diagnostic tests and other types of more specialized psychiatric assessments. In some cases, psychiatric nurse practitioners may serve as the primary care provider for clients with severe mental illness who are receiving long term care in an inpatient facility and whose care would be further fragmented if they had to receive primary care from another provider.

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