What It Really Takes To Be A Registered Psychiatric Nurse?

What It Really Takes To Be A Registered Psychiatric Nurse

A Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) is skilled in assessing and managing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, e.t.c. The growing awareness about these issues has put RPN’s in high demand. Registered psychiatric nurses work in general hospitals, assisted living centers, and correctional facilities. This article will share the duties, job requirements, and salary range of registered psychiatric nurses across the United States. 

Looking to become a Registered Psychiatric Nurse? Good things don’t come easy, and being an RPN is one of them. However, this dream is achievable with little guts and dedication to following the required steps. An intention to carry out the responsibilities that come with the job is also important and determines if you get to the finish line.

Steps to Becoming a Registered Practical Nurse

The medical sector creates sustained demand for nurses. If you are interested in health care and desire to start a career as a nurse, you might consider being a registered psychiatric nurse. To become an RPN, the following steps should be taken. 

  1. Getting A Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN)

A BSN is necessary and the first step to take if you intend to become a registered psychiatric nurse. It gives you an edge in the fast-growing and competitive world of nursing. A Bachelor’s degree is like a minimum requirement, allowing you to advance in your career up to the point of becoming a Nursing Practitioner. The courses you take during the duration of the program prepare you for the NCLEX certificate exam and work. You can get this degree in a school of your choice. Here are some of the best schools for BSN in the country:

1University of Michigan Ann-arbor MI4 years, full time
2University of California Los Angeles CA4 years, full time
3Georgetown University Washington DC4 years, full time
4Binghamton University Binghamton NYOne year accelerated program option, part-time, and 4 years full time
5University of Texas Medical BranchGalveston, TX16 months, full time 
  1. Getting Your RN License 

To get your license, you have to write the National Council Licensure Examination(NCLEX-RN). This is a national exam that can be taken about a month after you graduate. It is designed to test your skill level and determine if you have the abilities needed to carry out nursing effectively.  The questions asked in the NCLEX-RN exam cover knowledge and abilities in aspects of nursing. Questions will test your possession of abilities such as: 

  • Ability to reduce risk during treatment
  • Ability to care for and comfort 
  • Management
  • Psychosocial abilities.
  1. Getting Your Psychiatric Nursing Certificate 

This is an advanced certificate obtained by taking the ANCC-  Mental Health Board Certification Exam that tests for competence. Upon possession of the eligibility requirements and successful completion of the certification examination, you will be awarded the credential: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse – Board Certified (PMH-BC™). This certificate is valid for a period of 5 years.

What are the Job Requirements of a Registered Psychiatric Nurse?

To qualify for the job of a registered psychiatric nurse, you must possess the following educational and professional qualifications. The requirements listed here are just a template. Specific hospitals or healthcare centers may require more or less. 

  1. Bachelor of Science in Nursing certificate 
  2. RN certificate
  3. A minimum of two-year experience in primary care
  4. Proficiency in Electronic Medical Records
  5. Ability to work independently 
  6. Ability to work collaboratively 
  7. Language proficiency in English and a second language based on geographical area.

Registered Psychiatric Nurse Salary 

According to salary.com, The average Registered Psychiatric Nurse (RPN) salary in the United States is $76,990 as of March 29, 2021, but the range typically falls between $70,390 and $86,990. Salary ranges vary widely depending on important factors such as education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you have spent in your profession. 

At Ziprecruiter, registered psychiatric nurses salary was analyzed based on states, monthly pay, weekly and hourly rates and displayed as a table:

StateAnnual SalaryMonthly PayWeekly PayHourly Wage
New Jersey$78,983$6,582$1,519$37.97
New York$78,050$6,504$1,501$37.52
Rhode Island$76,483$6,374$1,471$36.77
New Hampshire$75,316$6,276$1,448$36.21
North Dakota$75,286$6,274$1,448$36.20

Top 5 Highest Paying States for Registered Psychiatric Nurses 

There are five states in the USA where registered psychiatric nurses are paid the most. These states are Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, Arizona, and Hawaii. The average annual salary of a registered nurse is $77,895, which means that RPN’s in these states earn significantly more than registered nurses everywhere in the USA and more than RPN’s in other states. 

In Wyoming for example, there are lots of companies hiring for the role of a registered psychiatric nurse and paying above the national average salary. 

Factors That Affect The Salary Range of Registered Psychiatric Nurse 

  • Registered psychiatric nurses earn more because jobs are not entry-level. That is, they require high qualifications to ensure efficiency. 
  • There is still a major void in psychiatric nursing which means RPNs are still in high demand. 
  • The area of specialization of the nurse.
  • The number of years of previous experience.
  • Location of the facility. 

Duties and Responsibilities of a Registered Psychiatric Nurse 

  1. Inputting Clients Details Into Files or EMR

Effective documentation of a patient’s overall details increases the quality of care that they receive. It also helps members of staff collaborate. Files are great, but Electronic Medical Records(EMR) take storage to the next level. They allow for extensive data storage and online collaboration. To work as an RPN, learning to use these record options is important. The good thing is, files can be easily understood, and EMR’s usually come with functionality that promotes ease of use. 

  1. Ensuring Client’s Room is Set Up

The physical environment is critical to a patient’s state of mind. Therefore, registered psychiatric nurses have to possess knowledge of how to create a therapeutic environment that will aid treatment. Deciding on the room layout is thus the job of the RPN. 

  1. Performing Basic Nursing Duties

As a registered psychiatric nurse, you should be ready to carry out basic nursing duties. Taking physical exams and diagnosis, patient evaluation and counseling, administering drugs, and wound treatment are basic nursing duties. These duties are the foundations for more specialized work as an RPN.  

  1. Attending to Patient’s Needs via Phone or in Person

Psychological needs are diverse and peculiar to a patient. Registered psychiatric nurses are responsible for treating schizophrenia and behavioral problems with the care required to make their treatment successful. You might also be required to use telemedicine which is an approach to treating patients who use emails or telephone calls.

  1. Participating in Staff Meetings 

A registered psychiatric nurse will be required to attend staff meetings with other members of staff. This helps the RPN keep abreast of the situation of the facility. It is also a great time for superiors to compliment their subordinates for jobs well done or encourage them to do better. 

  1. Minimizing Health Risk to Clients and Ensuring Their Safety

Patients with psychological health needs usually require close monitoring. Registered psychiatric nurses use strategies to implement safety measures that ensure the consistent well-being of their patients. They are also responsible for monitoring patients’ overall treatment process and detecting problems when they arise.

Frequently Asked Questions 

  • Who can become a Registered Psychiatric Nurse? 

Anyone can become a Registered Practical Nurse if they are prepared to complete all the required steps and earn the required certificates. Being an RPN is possible regardless of race, gender, and economic status.  

  • What are the Skills Needed for the Registered Psychiatric Nurse Job?

A registered psychiatric nurse needs skills that help ensure the effective carrying out of duties and responsibilities. Some of these skills are: 

  • Empathy 
  • Dedication
  • Understanding and knowledge of diverse health problems
  • Resilience 
  • Effective communication 
  • Collaboration
  • Where can I apply for Registered Psychiatric Nursing Jobs?

LinkedIn is fast becoming the household name and the first stop for all things job search. It is a great place for you to be visible to your potential employers. Features like job alerts and “Easy apply” would serve you well. Other job sites are great options too, like, Indeed and Medical Careers Global. 

The Registered Psychiatric Nursing Career

At this point, you have a good idea of what it takes to be a registered psychiatric nurse. Although it might not be a walk in the park, mental health nursing is a great career choice because you get to help the most vulnerable people and make a nice salary at the end of the month. The process of becoming a registered psychiatric nurse is, therefore, a worthwhile one. If you have any more questions on this topic or other related topics, please leave them in the comment section below. 

Also read The Job Outlook for Neonatal Nurse 2021

What It Really Takes To Be A Registered Psychiatric Nurse?

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