Why Consider a Career in Psychiatric Nurse Practicing?

By  //  November 28, 2022

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Many people are diagnosed with clinical depression yearly, and nearly half don’t receive proper treatment for their symptoms.

That means many people suffering from depression go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years until they finally get help from a trained professional.

That is where psychiatric nurse practitioners step into the picture. Psychiatric nurse practitioners are always in high demand. Data shows that around 9,714 psychiatric nurse practitioners are currently employed in the United States. 79.8% of all psychiatric nurse practitioners are women, while 20.2% are men.

What Are a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner’s Duties?

As the name implies, psychiatric nurse practitioners are qualified to diagnose and treat mental health disorders. They can work with patients of all ages, from young children to elderly adults. 

In addition to treating patients who have already been diagnosed with a mental illness, they also assess new patients for signs of possible disorders that may require treatment. 

Some of their duties include:

■ Providing psychotherapy (talking therapy)

■ Diagnosing and treating mental health disorders

■ Recommending medications

■ Creating treatment plans for rehabilitation and recovery

■ Educating patients on how best to manage their own care after discharge from the hospital or clinic (such as recommending self-help books or other resources)

■ Supervising other healthcare professionals

How to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

If you are looking to join this field, you need to fulfill the following requirements:

■ Bachelor’s degree in nursing: An undergraduate program prepares students for entry-level positions as nurses or nurse practitioners. Students learn about human health and diseases through classroom instruction and hands-on practice with patients. A bachelor’s degree can also prepare students for further studies in the field of nursing, such as earning a master’s or doctoral degree.

■ Master’s degree in psychiatric mental health nursing: A master’s program provides advanced education on how to diagnose and treat mental illnesses as well as administer psychotherapy treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), schema therapy, solution-focused brief therapy (SFBT) and family systems therapy.

■ Passing score on NCLEX-PN exam: This examination is administered by National Council Licensure Examination for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (NCLEX) every year.

You can also opt for online programs if you can’t attend a college or university to learn and clear examinations. Online programs are effective and recognized worldwide.

When selecting an online program, go for an establishment available in US states with mental health problems that are at least average. This will allow you to learn from an expert with experience and knowledge in dealing with mental health issues.

For example, the mental health problems in Florida are in-line with the overall average in the USA. According to recent data, 31.6% of adults in Florida reported mental health symptoms. You can join online psychiatric NP programs available in Florida to help people with mental health illnesses in the state.

Make a Life-Changing Difference in Others’ Lives

According to Mental Health America (MHA) data, 20.78%, or almost 50 million Americans, were facing mental health problems. You will have the opportunity to help these people who are in crisis. You could be there for someone experiencing mental illness, suffering from pain, or grieving over their loss.

It’s often hard for those experiencing these things to find the strength and courage to seek treatment, but with your support, they might be able to overcome their challenges and live healthy lives once again.

Ever Increasing Demand

As the need for mental healthcare grows, you can be assured that there will always be a market for psychiatric nurse practitioners. In addition to those with mental illness and substance abuse disorders, more people seek treatment for stress or anxiety.

According to market analysis, the mental health wellness market size, which was at $401.31 billion in 2021, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.5%. Moreover, the market trends show increasing mental health awareness, especially post Covid-19.

Competitive Salary

A psychiatric nurse practitioner can expect to earn a salary higher than the average RN and slightly lower than the average psychiatric social worker. According to Glassdoor, psychiatric nurses earn $85,726 on average each year.

In addition to higher pay rates than other mental health professionals, such as social workers or occupational therapists, who may have similar educational backgrounds and training, PNPs also tend to have more autonomy over their work schedules compared with other mental health professionals in traditional settings.

Job Security

One of the best things about pursuing a career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner is that they have job security. Due to the covid crisis, increasing substance abuse, and many other factors, the demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners is increasing. 

On the other hand, not many skilled therapists can cater to this increasing demand for mental health treatment. This means that psychiatric nurses are playing a vital role in bridging this gap.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are needed in many different settings and specialties to provide mental health treatment to patients with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. 

Psychiatric nurse practitioners working in rural areas are especially needed to help those who do not have access to quality mental health care otherwise available in urban centers like major cities like New York City or Los Angeles.

Wide Range of Work Environments

As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you can work in various environments. These include private practices, hospitals, community health centers, and schools. You might even find yourself working in a prison or nursing home.

This flexibility is part of what makes becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner so appealing. It means that if you want to change your environment every few years—or even months—you can do so without changing careers entirely!


If you’re still unsure whether this is your career path, consider this: Many jobs out there pay less than psychiatric nurse practitioner positions. But what they offer that others don’t is the chance to make a difference in people’s lives.

If you want to care for others and help them improve their mental health, becoming a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner could be an excellent choice for you!

In conclusion, I think that being a psychiatric nurse practitioner would be an awesome job because it allows you to help people with their mental illnesses while also making money doing something you would love doing.