Updated: Jun 15, 2020
A RN working on the Behavioral Health Stress Management Unit at Akron General Hospital, Sarah McCormick, RN, BSN, explains her role as well as why she was drawn to the specialty of psychiatric nursing.
In my role I work with and care for individuals in the psychiatric-mental health population who are in need of crisis intervention and stress management. The majority of the patients for whom I care are brought to the hospital because they are either a danger to themselves to others, or are in need of a medication adjustment. Many of these patients have mental health illnesses such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, history of substance abuse, or forms of dementia.
A psychiatric nurse has to practice good communication and relationship skills to preform mental health assessments, have compassion and openness to diversity, an abundance of patience, and an adequate understanding of behavioral sciences as well as basic nursing skills. Every day as a psychiatric nurse is different and rewarding in its own way.
Having the opportunity to help individuals improve and prosper mentally and physically has been a strong passion and interest of mine. Before earning my nursing degree, I worked as a float nurse technician at many nursing homes and also cared for an individual with late stage Alzheimer's on a private basis. During this time, my love for behavioral health blossomed and I decided to minor in psychology. Throughout nursing school, I would jump at any opportunity to enhance my experience talking to and caring for those with mental health needs.
In this specialty of nursing, there are additional steps needed to become a certified psychiatric nurse. Although I am not officially a certified psychiatric nurse yet, I am looking forward to working towards my certification, which includes working two full years in psychiatric nursing, taking additional education courses, and passing the certification exam.