Mental health nursing is an essential profession. Moreover, there’s a growing need for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP) to care for patients in a wide range of clinical settings. To meet this need, professionals are turning to online programs. These are a great way to get the education and training needed to excel in this field. They also allow nurses to continue to advance in their careers.
In this article, we’ll explore what these courses entail and the value of a mental health nursing career. Additionally, we’ll look at the impact these programs have on the field of mental health nursing. Leading online PMHNP programs, such as the one offered by Marymount University, allow students to enter this growing field. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field to grow by 40% by 2031.
What is an online mental health nursing program?
Accredited universities and colleges typically offer a range of nursing programs, which can both be studied in-person and online. With the massive shift towards remote learning, students are allowed a greater degree of flexibility. It allows you to complete your studies from the comfort of your home, which eliminates the need for students to commute. For working nurses, it allows them to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue careers as psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners.
The profession of psychiatric mental health nursing
Mental health nursing is a unique and rewarding career that profoundly impacts patients’ lives. As a mental health nurse practitioner, your job focuses on providing compassionate, patient-centered care to individuals with mental health issues. Mental health nurse practitioners assess, diagnose and treat many mental health disorders and strive to ensure patients receive the best care.
As a mental health nurse practitioner, it’s your job to work closely with patients, developing relationships and providing emotional support. In addition, you’re responsible for managing medications, providing mental health intervention and developing treatment plans. By working closely with patients, you help them make positive changes and provide them with the tools they need to reach their goals.
What do psychiatric nurse practitioners value?
As with any profession, specific values are essential to all nurses. Of course, this includes compassion, respect and empathy for patients and families. However, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners also value evidence-based and holistic approaches to healthcare.
A holistic approach to healthcare considers the whole person. So, it considers their life’s physical, mental, social and emotional aspects. It recognizes that medical professionals can’t separate health issues from other areas of a person’s life. Healthcare must include knowing how a patient lives, interacts with others, copes with stress, manages emotions and more. A holistic approach to healthcare assumes these are interrelated areas. So, in knowing these elements, medical professionals can understand and address a patient’s needs to improve overall health outcomes.
A holistic approach to healthcare
As mentioned, as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you value a holistic approach to healthcare. You recognize that mental illness and physical health issues are interrelated. Psychiatric nurse practitioners help patients manage psychological and physical health issues by coordinating care with other healthcare providers, such as physicians and physical therapists. So, conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes may be treated independently but are an important aspect of maintaining a patient’s overall wellbeing. Psychiatric nurse practitioners recognize that physical health problems can trigger or worsen mental health issues, such as delirium or dementia.
Developing meaningful relationships with patients
As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you recognize the importance of developing meaningful relationships with patients. You can better understand a patient’s mental health issues and provide proper care through these relationships. Many mental health issues can be embarrassing for patients to discuss. They need to feel confident that they will be heard and respected when discussing their experience and symptoms.
Meaningful relationships also help patients feel more comfortable and safe during treatment. Sometimes, depending on patient issues, this trust is necessary. For example, a relationship with a specific nurse might help a nervous patient feel more at ease during an anxiety-inducing procedure, such as the placement of an IV.
Education and continuing education
Psychiatric nurse practitioners also value education’s importance in the classroom and the workplace. So, as a mental health nurse practitioner, you recognize that research and best practices continually evolve. These developments help improve patient care and outcomes, but they also require further training for nurses. As a result, psychiatric nurses recognize they need to remain up to date on the latest treatments and medications. In this profession, you also need to know how these new developments affect patients. Continuing education helps psychiatric nurse practitioners stay knowledgeable and on top of current theories and treatments in their field. So, if you continue learning throughout your career, you will increase your bank of knowledge, which will benefit your patients and never expire.
Why are psychiatric nurse practitioners valued in healthcare?
As with any other profession, there are many reasons why psychiatric nurse practitioners are valued. However, there are a few specific reasons why psychiatric nurse practitioners are critical and valued healthcare team members. Firstly, psychiatric nurse practitioners are an integral part of healthcare. Mental health issues affect many people, and many patients also have physical health issues requiring physical health care.
Additionally, psychiatric nurses help coordinate care between providers and disciplines. So, you regularly work alongside physicians, social workers and physical therapists in this field. Just by engaging with your colleagues at work, you are exchanging the knowledge of each profession for the betterment of your patients. You also help patients access the care they need. For instance, you may assist in follow-up medical appointments and medication management.
Patients and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners
The relationship between a patient and a PMHNP is an incredibly important one. Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners provide support, guidance and compassion to patients. As a mental health nurse practitioner, it’s also your job to strive to ensure patients have access to the best possible care. So, PMHNPs advocate for their patients, providing support for their needs. As a result, the relationship between a patient and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is strong.
Mental health nurse practitioners work hard to build trust and understanding with their clients. In this role, you provide emotional support, guidance and education on the effects of mental health issues. In turn, it helps patients better understand their mental health and make positive changes. You provide critical insights into the causes of mental health issues through your relationship with patients. This helps patients to recognize their triggers and develop strategies to manage them. Of course, that leads to greater self-awareness and improved mental wellbeing.
Benefits of an online degree
There are many benefits to enrolling in an online nursing program. For starters, you can complete your studies from the comfort of your home, eliminating the need to commute to and from a physical campus, which saves you time and money. Another benefit is that you receive an excellent education from an accredited university with immense flexibility.
Online programs provide students with access to a wide range of experienced and knowledgeable tutors, who offer students professional guidance and feedback throughout their studies. So, even in a remote setting, these activities are constructive for students struggling with specific topics.
Why becoming a PMHNP is a rewarding career path
Becoming a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling careers for those interested in helping people with mental health issues. Mental health nurse practitioners play an essential role in advocating for their patients. In a world where there’s still mental health stigma, it is a vital humanitarian career.
PMHNPs provide critical support and understanding to their patients. They also help ensure patients receive the care they need. Additionally, mental health nurse practitioners are committed to promoting awareness of mental health issues, so they advocate for better access to mental health services at work and in their communities. As a result, you strive to improve access to mental health services in this career.
As mentioned, psychiatric nurse practitioners serve as vital advocates for the mental health field as a whole. They know the importance of mental health care, and that is especially true for patients who can’t advocate for themselves. Psychiatric nurse practitioners recognize a stigma still exists around mental health care, so they help dispel myths and misconceptions about mental illness. They also help inform the general public about mental health care and treatment options to improve accessibility and reduce stigma.
Working as a nurse practitioner for patients with mental health issues is one of the most compelling careers you can pursue. Often people who are the most vulnerable have the fewest resources. As a result, serving as a PMHNP, you place yourself in a position to make a meaningful difference. For instance, you may deal with economically vulnerable people. You may also have patients at the end of life or perhaps single parents struggling to survive. For these people, you serve as a critical linchpin in helping them to overcome life’s challenges.
Professional opportunities for mental health nursing students
If you’re considering entering the field, there are lots of opportunities. Once students complete their studies, they’re typically eligible to apply for a wide range of professional positions. These positions include clinical nurse specialist, psychiatric nurse practitioner or mental health nurse practitioner. In addition to these roles, PMHNP students may pursue other advanced degrees, such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.
Upon completing a degree, students can pursue many professional opportunities. These may include working in hospitals, clinics, schools, community centers and private practice. Graduates also pursue research, education and leadership roles and specialize in addiction, geriatric mental health and child and adolescent mental health.
The impact of online education on mental health nursing
Online programs have significantly impacted the field of mental health nursing. These programs make it easier for nurses to gain the knowledge and skills to provide quality patient care. Additionally, they have opened new career opportunities for nurses and allowed them to pursue advanced degrees in mental health nursing.
They also make it easier for nurses to pursue specialized degrees – honing their skills and expanding their knowledge in a specific area. Of course, it helps them become more attractive to potential employers and ultimately help them improve patient care quality.
The professional opportunities available to graduates increases the number of mental health professionals available to meet the population’s needs. In turn, it leads to better patient outcomes and a greater understanding of mental health. Finally, the specializations available to graduates help create a more knowledgeable and skilled workforce.
Online resources for psychiatric nurses
Several resources are available for students interested in pursuing an online nursing degree. When looking for a program, research the different programs to find the one that best meets your needs. It will help when looking for specific professional resources. Additionally, you can look at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. This is an excellent resource for PMHNP students. You can also explore the Association of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses and the Society of Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurses. Some states, such as Texas and Massachusetts, have state resources as well. So, make it a point to research national, state and city resources.
A vital and dynamic career as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner
Mental health nursing is vital to healthcare, and psychiatric nurse practitioners are essential to providing quality care for those with mental illness. As discussed, psychiatric nurse practitioners value a holistic approach to healthcare and work to develop meaningful relationships with patients. Psychiatric nurse practitioners bring unique skills, values and perspectives to the field. As a result, this makes them invaluable healthcare team members.
You can become a mental health nurse practitioner with the help of an online degree. They’re an excellent way to gain the knowledge and skills for a dynamic career. These programs allow students to set their own study schedules and provide opportunities for advanced degrees. In the process, you can make a significant impact on the lives of many people. Improving lives is what nursing and healthcare are all about!