Nursing has always been a prestigious profession, and people all across the world hold nurses in high regard. Today, it has become an expansive field and encompasses many subfields. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, World Health Organization has declared it as Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), which has brought nurses to the forefront. But mental health nurses have especially been front and center, owing to the rising number of psychiatric issues people are facing because of the pandemic.
Mental health nurses work up close with people dealing with psychological issues. They play a crucial part in helping patients cope up with the illness and in providing psychiatric care. Mental health nursing is demanding, and apart from the physical work, it can be emotionally draining. Mental health nurses work with a group of professional medical staff and assist in diagnosing, assessing, and treating psychiatric diseases. Mental health nurses provide support to people dealing with depression, panic attacks, personality disorders, and drug or alcohol addiction.
Mental health is a delicate field, and nurses who choose to pursue this field requires a Master in Nursing online , as only licensed Nurses can serve in this field. Mental health nursing is one of the fastest-growing professions in 2020.
The following are some important things about mental health nursing that one should be aware of:
- Mental Health Nurses are Different from Psychologists
Mental health and psychology both concern patients’ mental condition, which is why people often find themselves unable to differentiate between them. Although they are different professions, they are related to each other. Psychologists possess a degree of Ph.D. or PsyD, and they are neither allowed to prescribe medication, nor can they treat medical conditions. Their task is to perform psychological testing on patients. An ordinary mental health nurse does not have the authority to prescribe medicines, but an advanced nurse can write prescriptions in some cases. Mental health nurses hold a license with a psychiatric specialty, and they work in psychiatric and general hospitals, community health and home healthcare organizations, and private clinics.
2. Communication Skills are Vital
The first approach to deal with psychiatric and mental health issues is through communication. More often than not, patients are stubborn, and it becomes challenging to hold a conversation with them. Mental health nurses should have compassion, sensitivity, and patience. Patients feel less of themselves, and they have little or no control over themselves.
Mental health nurses empower them and verbally instructed them when necessary. They uplift patients through their communication and raise their self-esteem. They have an understanding of what tone and words to use in different kinds of situations. And they are trained in therapeutic interaction.
3. A Sense of Gratification
Mental health and psychiatric nurses deal with extraordinary challenges daily. They often have to repeat the same thing over a hundred times, and since patients can be adamant, to make them agree to do basic tasks of eating or washing hands can take hours. Mental health nurses put their patients first, and when a sick person recovers, nurses feel a sense of pride and satisfaction. Besides, patients also show gratitude after recovering and admit that it is only because of mental health nurses’ patience they have improved. Those who have a passion for serving the community can make a career in medical health nursing as they will get innumerable opportunities of giving back to society.
4. Higher Earning Opportunities
Psychiatric and mental health issues are on the rise all across the globe, which has raised the demand for mental health nurses. Mental health nursing is more challenging than regular nursing; hence these nurses also get better earning opportunities. Aside from a handsome salary, mental health nurses also get insurance and other benefits. Some patients prefer to care at home and hire private mental health nurses to cater to their treatments. Treating patients at homes mean a handsome salary. Moreover, experts have predicted that the profession of mental health nursing will grow exponentially in the upcoming years.
5. Mental Health Nurses are Resilient
Once you land a job as a mental health worker, you may have to work for extended hours that too, in unfavorable conditions. Furthermore, treating mental illnesses is a long process, where you may not see any sign of recovery in the first few weeks. Sometimes the process works in reverse, and the patients’ condition seems to worsen. Therefore, mental health nurses learn to be resilient, and every time they face a setback, they stand firm.
6. Striking a Balance is Key
Unlike general practicing nurses, mental health nurses spend extended time with their patients. Additionally, they provide care to their patients through therapeutic communication . Since they indulge in extended discussions with their patients, they develop a bond with them. Although nurses need to show compassion and sensitivity, but an excessive emotional attachment may hinder their other duties. The key is to strike a balance while treating them. As a mental health nurse, you need to draw a line and have a laser focus on job duties.
Nursing demands active listening, sensitivity, compassion, and patience. Mental health nurses tackle patients suffering from mental dysfunctions. The difference between an efficient nurse and an ordinary nurse is that a competent mental health nurse shows empathy and helps in reviving the faith in patients. The job of mental health nurses is physically and emotionally exhausting, but worthwhile at the same time. COVID-19 has changed the world dramatically, and people from all parts of the world are finding it difficult to cope. That’s where mental health nurses come in to help us deal with the rising mental health issues.