What is a Psychiatric Practitioner?

The importance of nurses in the society has continued to heighten. Their services are required more than before. On that account, the psychiatric practitioners are on high demand. Mental health has received a lot of attention. This is due to the fact that many suicides are caused by depression. Scores of people, therefore, seek help before it gets worse. Many celebrities have taken their own lives due to a number of mental illnesses. Thus the society has come out to support people who suffer from such disorders.

For this reason, there are a lot of patients who are being cared for. Psychiatric practitioners form an integral part of the medical professional. Their scope of work is on all patients with mental disabilities. Read on to get in-depth information about psychiatric practitioners. What is a Psychiatric Practitioner? They are nurses with an advanced level of education. The level can be a master’s degree or doctoral degree. They mainly focus on the mental health of patients.

Psychiatric practitioners make up 5.4% of nurses who have been registered in the US. They collaborate with other medical experts to give the ideal care to patients. They are also called the PMHNPs. What do PMHNPs do? The roles of a psychiatric practitioner differ according to the environment. They are different in several settings. Those in public facilities do slightly varied duties from those in private facilities. They make sure that in the end, the body and mind can connect and synchronize. What Are Their Daily Responsibilities? PHMNPs work for the good of the patients.

Their duties can either be independent or supervisory. They have many roles attached to their skills. However, most of them have the following responsibilities. Offer home-based and outpatient services to the mental health status of the patient. Diagnose and evaluate the mental disorders as per the client Prescribe medications which are the right ones to the patient Keep the medical history of the patient and other records Perform mental tests on the patient Examine the physical status of patients Educate the family of the patient on mental health challenges.

Analyze if the medication works for various clients Refer patients with the help of other doctors Conduct research and disseminate the findings to education bodies Provide consultancy services to all the interested parties Who Are Their Typical Patients? Psychiatric practitioners handle patients across all age groups. The young and the elderly can be treated by the nurses. They are patients who suffer from anxiety disorders, depression, addiction, bipolar disorders, and suicide. Patients who have mental disabilities are attended to by psychiatric nurses. They battle with fear, anger, substance abuse, low moods, and grief. They always have a difficult time adjusting to a totally new environment. How to Become a Psychiatric Practitioner There are mandatory steps to become a PMHNP. Some states require some licensing so as to recognize psychiatric practitioners. There are exams to confirm whether you can perform as expected.

Education and training are compulsory to become a PMHNP. What Education is required? An advanced PMHNP is supposed to have a master’s degree. You can also have a doctoral degree but it is not a requirement. Undergraduate Degree This can be in the form of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN). To graduate with a BSN degree one takes 4 years. For the ADN, two years are required for completion. The bachelor’s degree is usually preferred than the ADN. The topics that are focused on include psychology, basic pharmacology, pathophysiology, nursing theory, nursing research, public health, and microbiology. Emergency care and physical assessment are also discussed in class. Master’s Degree This is where nurses start to specialize in different areas of study. For psychiatric practitioners, they tend to study advanced psychology, advanced pharmacology, psychopharmacology, health promotion, and disease prevention. They also spend time learning social determinants of health and health equity, child and adolescent mental health care. In addition to that, you will be studying psychiatric mental health disorders, advanced statistics and research methods.

Another major topic is on older adult mental health assessment and evaluation. Advanced family clinical practice is part of the courses. This will take from 2 to 3 years of committed study to finalize. What exams or test must be passed? Exams are mainly done as a way of certifying nurses. This gets them registered to various professional bodies. To become a psychiatric practitioner, you will sit for two tests. One is completed after the undergraduate degree. The second one is done after the MSN degree. You should pass to get a license from the state. NCLEX-RN It is conditional to take the NCLEX exams to become a PMHNP. The main purpose of the test is to assess how good you are your job. Skills and knowledge get tested. Here the practical part of nursing is also examined. To get a good grade, you need to properly analyze the situations asked in the questions. This is to mean that you should think critically before choosing the answer. You will be given computerized quizzes. The time is set at 6 hours to answer at least 75 questions or at most 265 questions.

The standard exams are charged a total of $200 as the registration fee. Different topics account to the total percentage. The passing mark is usually 0.00 logit score. After getting a good grade, you can now get a license. This will qualify you as an RN. The states board of nursing provides the licenses. Board Certification Test The exam is done after the master’s degree. It consists of 200 computerized questions. Out of the total, 175 are done for the final results. The remaining 25 are done as a pre-test. They will be used to determine how questions will be set in the future. The duration assigned to complete the exam is 4 hours. Eligibility is based on a number of things. You should have an RN license that is valid. You also present the MSN degree certificate and transcripts. All these are means of verification. You should have a good record of key courses. These are advanced psychology, advanced pathophysiology and advanced physical assessment. After the certification, there is a need for renewal. This should happen after 5 years to make it valid. You have to complete 1,000 clinical hours to get a new license. What experience is required? A PMHNP should have hands-on experience of about 500 hours of practice.

The clinic practice hours should be supervised. This gives the psychiatric practitioner ample experience with patients. They will be able to evaluate what the patient is suffering from. The PMHNP can also prescribe the appropriate medication. A psychiatric practitioner will also have the skills to follow up on the patient’s case. When the condition worsens or improves, the nurse has all the knowledge to advise the patient’s family. Nurses work for eight to twelve hours a day. Gaining experience will make you stronger. You can handle the shifts including holidays and weekends. Patients with mental health problems need to be approached well. When you interact with them, you can be able to know the best way to talk to them. In other cases, patients get physical or violent. As a nurse with experience, you can comfortably calm down the situation. Thus, 1 to 2 years will prepare you for the work. How much does a Psychiatric Practitioner get paid? A psychiatric practitioner (nurse) earns according to location, type of industry and experience. On average the median salary of PMHNPs is 107,480. Different industries offer varied salaries.

The private sectors pay differently from public practice. The hourly wage is about $51.68. Below are some examples of the level of payment. Universities and colleges- $100,040 Outpatient Services- $111,690 Physician’s office- $105,730 Other health offices- $106,670 General hospitals- 111, 850 Where do Psychiatric practitioners work? They work in various places. They include colleges and universities, physician offices, hospitals. They also work in a mental health clinic. Other nurses work at homes. This is after the patients have been discharged. They offer home-based care to patients. PMHNPs work in corporations, and correctional facilities. They could also decide to be self-employed. They can work in their private practices. Psychiatric practitioners work in public centers also. They can consult with business professional bodies or the community at large. They are found in pediatric clinics and family practice centers.


A psychiatric practitioner is beneficial to the health sector. They counsel the patient and the family in the best way to heal mental disorders. They have the patience to treat a patient form a young age to adulthood to old age. Although some nurses handle a patient from adulthood to later years, they do an awesome job. With the medical histories at hand, they make the healing process a success. A PMHNP is the most needed nurse at this time. Many patients are dealing with so many mental issues. They are however few in the health sector. There is a need for people to enroll more on the nursing degree. They should also specialize in psychiatry practice so as to fill the gap. This will balance the ratio of nurses to patients which is negatively skewed. The career requires a lot of commitment. It demands time and patience. At the end of it all, the nurse gets satisfaction. This is because they work for the good of patients. They make a positive impact on a patient’s life.

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