Psychiatric nurses care for patients with mood disorders or other mental health problems. The career requirements for psychiatric nursing vary depending on kind of care the nurse is providing. Basic at-home nursing may require only a high school degree and some training, either on-the-job or at a training institute. More complex care is provided by registered nurses (RNs) who specialize in psychiatric care. You can become an RN by pursuing a bachelor's of science degree in nursing (BSN), an associate's degree in nursing (ASN), or a diploma in nursing.
In meeting the career requirements for psychiatric nursing, many students choose to first enter a diploma or ASN program and later enter a BSN program, after obtaining practical work experience. If you are interested in providing even more specialized psychiatric care, you will need to obtain a master's degree in nursing. This degree usually takes about two years to complete.
All nurses must pass a national licensing examination. This test is called the NCLEX-RN. Continued licensure often requires a nurse to enroll in continuing education as the years go by. For psychiatric nursing, further certification may be required, depending on the state in which you want to practice. Career requirements for psychiatric nurses include a demonstrated competence in understanding and administrating regular psychiatric medications. Nurses will need to have received specialized training in effective ways of responding to individuals' with mental illnesses.
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