Psychiatric nurses, also called mental health nurses, specialize in caring for patients of all ages who are experiencing mental illness or distress. Psych nurses may treat a variety of mental illnesses or focus on specific age groups or disorders, such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD, dementia, substance abuse, or eating disorders. They’re experts in crisis intervention and work closely with their patients to help them manage their mental illnesses and live fulfilling lives.
Psychiatric RN Salary
According to PayScale, the average annual salary of a psychiatric RN is $65,671. This works out to an average weekly salary of $1,263 or $31.58 per hour in a 40-hour work week. Psychiatric travel nurses earn an average weekly salary of $1,633, per NurseFly’s 2019 data. Besides their taxed salary, travel psych nurses may benefit from tax-free stipends, if they claim a permanent tax-home, including housing allowances and per diems for meals.
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Psychiatric Nurse FAQs
What are the best agencies for Psychiatric Nurse jobs?
The agencies on NurseFly that currently have the most Psychiatric Nurse jobs are Stability Healthcare (130), SSM Health (44), and KPG Healthcare (39).
How Much Do Psychiatric Nurse Jobs Pay?
For jobs available on NurseFly as of Sunday, November 29th 2020, the average weekly pay for Psychiatric Nurse jobs is $1,691, but can pay up to $4,088 per week. In 2020, Psychiatric Nurses jobs on Nursefly paid a gross average weekly pay of $1,585 per week working an average of 36 hours per week. This includes non-taxable compensation like living stipends, meal stipends, and housing which add up to an average value of $862 per week.
- min - $811
- avg - $1,691
- max - $4,088
What does a psychiatric nurse do?
Psychiatric RNs assess the mental health needs of individuals, which includes providing care based on treatment and nursing care plans, and educating and supporting patients, but doesn’t include counseling. Psychiatric RNs administer prescribed medications and assess their effectiveness and side effects, but they can’t prescribe medications. They also provide crisis intervention, complete new admissions’ paperwork, and ensure patient charts are complete.
Psychiatric advanced practice RNs have expanded scopes of practice, which varies based on the state of practice. APRNs are more involved in the diagnosis and treatment plan creation process. They can also offer psychotherapy, including counseling individuals and leading therapeutic groups, and can prescribe medications in some states. Sometimes the roles of a psychiatric APRN overlaps with those of a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker.
Where do psychiatric nurses work?
Psych nurses have a wide array of work settings, including the mental health wards of community or general services hospitals or at psychiatric hospitals. They may also work at substance abuse treatment centers, community mental health centers, correctional facilities, schools for individuals with mental or emotional issues, and outpatient mental health organizations.
What skills make a good psychiatric nurse?
Psychiatric nurses must have a solid foundation in the behavioral sciences and extensive knowledge about medication effects and interactions. They must be experts in mental health assessment and crisis intervention, including recognizing the signs of deteriorating or advancing mental illness. Excellent interpersonal skills are crucial, which includes good verbal communication and active listening skills, and empathy. They must be detail oriented with excellent written communication skills to thoroughly and accurately chart patients. Critical thinking, multitasking, and teamwork also top the list of desirable skills.
How to become a Psychiatric Travel Nurse
Becoming a travel psychiatric nurse means fulfilling requirements to become a registered nurse, which includes earning an associate or bachelor’s degree from an accredited nursing program, passing the NCLEX-RN, completing all state licensing requirements, and earning Basic Life Support certification. Most travel psychiatric nursing positions require between one and two years of experience in a psychiatric setting. Psychiatric APRNs must earn a master’s degree.
While not required, board certification can be helpful and obtained through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification requires two years full-time RN practice with a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice and 30 hours of continuing education in psychiatric nursing within three years.