The job of psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is a challenging medical job that involves evaluating people with mental health disorders, understanding their problems, and providing treatment appropriate for the patients. Educating yourself more about the job profile and expected income will help you decide whether mental health nurse practitioner is the type of profession that you will enjoy down the line, may be after 10 years or so. Here, we shall take a look at the job description and salary range of a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
The job responsibilities of psychiatric nurse practitioners are centered on assessing patients having mental disorders or substance abuse problems to provide therapeutic care suited for the patients. Thus, the main role of mental health nurse practitioners is, diagnosing the mental disorder of the patient. However, they are also given the license to recommend medicines and provide patient care. These nurse specialists can join community health centers, hospitals, and primary care facilities. Other options are working in social organizations and opening a private counseling center.
For those interested in becoming a PMHNP, having a four years degree in psychiatric nursing is a must to get through reputable hospital jobs. After that, they should join advanced nursing education program. With a master's or doctoral degree, one has the option of working as a consultant, educator, or psychotherapist. Of course, there are nurses who join short-term psychiatric nurse certification courses. But the career opportunity for bachelor degree holders is more than those who have completed only certification. Either way, the candidate has to give exam (NCLEX-RN) for registration to become a registered nurse practitioner.
Similar to other hospital jobs, it is not so difficult to get psychiatric nurse practitioner jobs. However, one thing that matters in deciding the job profile and salary package is the hiring organization. Most health care centers and psychiatric hospitals prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree in nursing and prior clinical experience. Consequently, nurses with such qualifications are paid higher than freshers who have just passed out from basic nursing programs.
The average salary of a psychiatric nurse practitioner varies with respect to certain attributes. To mention a few, factors like geographical location, educational qualification, years of experience, and size of the hospital (or health center) are taken into consideration for determining the salary. For example; nurses employed in general hospitals and specialized psychiatric centers earn a higher income than those working in community mental health centers and psychiatric hospitals.
Detailed analysis on mental health nurse practitioner salary reveals that basic-level PMHNs earn about USD 68,482 per year, whereas an advanced practice registered nurse's (APRNS) salary is approximately USD 64,887 per year. People who chose to work as faculty members in nursing colleges earn about USD 65,000 or more annually. On an average, a professional in this field having at least five years of experience gets a whopping USD 91,797 per annum. Based on the qualification level, the annual pay package of a psychiatric nurse practitioner may reach up to USD 111,333.
* Source: Payscale
* Source: Payscale
With the ever raising growth in health care industry, it is understandable that the job openings for qualified nurses will also increase. As per career outlook, the demand for mental health nurses is quite strong for the next 10 years. With reference to the present scenario, the number of women psychiatric nurse practitioners is more than men. According to statistical data, more than 80 percent of mental health nurse practitioners are women. Also, majority of the psychiatric counselors are women.
On the concluding note, 4-6 years education and intense training programs are essential to become mental health nurse practitioners, since they are given license for prescribing emergency medications or services required for the patients. If you are satisfied with the salary range and more importantly, the nurse responsibilities, you can definitely look forward for this career option. To get a pay hike, general nurses can even think of switching their current jobs to the psychiatric-mental health nursing. All they need is to apply in hospitals or clinics, which provide training courses for psychiatric nursing.