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Psychiatric Nurse

A Psychiatric or Behavioral Health Nurse cares for patients with psychiatric disorders such as mental illness, eating disorders, addiction, and substance abuse.
Required education
Work on your own or even start your own practice, in some states.
Work hands-on, directly with patients.
Follow a routine that allows you to anticipate and prepare for every situation.
Take on different tasks, patients, and situations every day.
You’ll be patient and kind, but also strong to support people and be firm when the line needs to be drawn.
Nursing bag, medication, and signs cartoon graphic
What you’ll do


You’ll evaluate people with mental illnesses.


You’ll work as part of a team of psychiatrists, various other doctors and other mental health specialists.


You’ll recommend services and programs to patients.


You’ll teach patients and families how to deal with the challenges of psychiatric disorders.


You’ll diagnose and treat patients, assist them with medication, and help them achieve long and short-term goals.

Where you’ll work
  • Community clinics
  • Correctional facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term care centers
  • Mental Health facilities
  • Private practices
  • Rehabilitation centers
  • Schools
How to become a Psychiatric Nurse


Pass the NCLEX-RN.


Work as a Registered Nurse for two years.

Gain 2,000 hours experience and 30 hours continuing education in Psychiatric Nursing.


Get your Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.


You’re ready to work as a Psychiatric Nurse.

Join an Organization
Become a member of a Psychiatric Nurse organization to find career opportunities, learn from your colleagues, and support the profession.
A Radiology Nurse’s role is also varied.
A Nurse Practitioner is another type of long-term care nurse.
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