Mental health nurse roles and responsibilities you should know.

Mental health nurse roles and responsibilities

Introduction - Mental health nursing

Nursing is an art… It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts. – Florence Nightingale

Did you know? The demand for mental health nurses in the UK has surged due to Covid -19. Becoming one is not simple; unlike the other kind of nursing, it calls for qualities like compassion, resilience, adaptability, problem-solving, and so much more. The mental health nurse’s roles and responsibilities are limitless. 

Handling patients with mental illness is probably the toughest task to treat. With not a clear and uniform path to recovery, psychiatric nursing can behold unique challenges with the most rewarding moments.

Whether you are someone considering a career in mental health nursing, or someone who is already offering nursing care, or an agency hiring mental health professionals, this is definitely the right blog to read.

What is mental health nursing? 

Mental health nursing or psychiatric nursing is a specialized field of nursing that helps handle individuals with mental illnesses like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or psychosis, allowing them to overcome, recover, and improve their ways of life.

Along with their nursing degree, they require a specialization to assist people with care. Ideally, they may work with groups, individuals, families, communities, or individuals and people who generally take up this profession are different from those who wish to become general nurses. First, they are proud of their profession, second, they believe they play a humanitarian role in society.

Versatile and multi-skilled, the mental health nurses are generally put to handle a variety of areas like emergency departments, academia, and research, child and adolescence, schools, communities, inpatient, forensic, deaf, old age, primary care, perinatal, etc.

Currently, in England, there are around 290,000 nurses registered with NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council)—out of it, 12% of those are Registered Mental Health Nurses.

Mental health nurse roles and responsibilities 

In any psychiatric setting, the psychiatric–mental health (PMH) nurse is the only professional who spends maximum time interacting with the patients’, trying to better understand their background and problems from all dimensions. 

Out of their qualification and skills, mental health nurses own exceptional knowledge when it comes to assessing, diagnosing, and treating psychiatric disorders with specialized care. Their only goal is to provide optimal clinical outcomes for the patient they deal with.

Their role mainly is captured in the below figure.

  • Assess and evaluate the patient’s mental health
  • Draft and develop a treatment care plan
  • Consult the treatment plan with health professionals
  • Psychotherapy treatment and provision of care
  • Proper documentation of patient records
  • Extend proper support & education to the patients and their family

What are the roles and responsibilities of a mental health nurse? 

Be it in a home setting, child psychiatric ward, daycare centers, mental health units, nursing homes, psychotherapy unit, inpatient psychiatric ward, they provide individualized nursing care to patients as per the scientific nursing principle recommendations.

Here is a full list of the duties, roles, and responsibilities of a mental health nurse, which is but not limited to;

  • Conduct complete physical & mental health and risk assessments 
  • Handles intake screening, evaluation, and sorting
  • Developing individualized care plans for patients
  • Exercise coordinated care
  • Manages and monitors treatment regimens every now and then
  • Maintains control of drugs and medications 
  • Administering medications based on patients’ constant improvements; monitors and manages side effects (if any)
  • Keenly observes and reports behavioral changes in patients with proper records 
  • Assists patients to achieve their recovery goals, building relationships with complete interpersonal support
  • Participation and initiation of various recreational activities and therapies like psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, play therapy, group therapy, play therapy, family therapy, etc
  • Handles stabilization, crisis intervention, psychiatric rehabilitation, followed by intervention
  • Works along with patients’ families to improve patient’s abilities
  • Promotes ambiance and factors to alleviate further disability
  • Records care information precisely and accurately, in the right format, in a timely fashion
  • Completes duties as allocation, depending on assignment setting
  • Provide environmental safety while protecting the patients and others from injury
  • Teaches social skills, provides counseling to handle emotional difficulties and stress level
  • Complete discharge care with community referral and follow up care
  • Supervise subordinates
  • Maintain ward cleanliness

Why do you think there’s a demand for mental health nursing? Quick stats!

More people than ever before are being admitted to hospitals in the English NHS.

The NHS is facing extraordinary pressure on its resources. The below chart clearly depicts the increase in the in-patient admissions to English NHS hospitals, which has increased by 28% from 2006 to 2016. The record proves that the greater population shows multiple long-term conditions than in the past. Now things have only worsened due to the Covid-19 depression.

Source: The Health Foundation. The Data Controller of the data analyzed in NHS Digital and a HES extract as provided in 2017

Moving forward 

The normalisation of mental health issues like depression and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through media has led to an increase in demand for mental health professionals around the UK. The data on the predicted rise of jobs shows that the demand for mental health nurses far outstrips the average creation of jobs in other industries. 

The projected number of jobs for mental health professionals is expected to grow 31% from 2014 to 2024 and their salary would be the second-highest paid among the other nurses.

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