Mental Health Nursing
Nursing professionals can find themselves working in a variety of clinical settings, from rehabilitation centers to emergency or trauma care clinics, to health care facilities working to address the needs of patients with mental illnesses. As part of a team, mental health nurses work to evaluate, diagnose, and provide treatment options to patients with mental illnesses. Some mental health nurses are responsible for developing treatment plans; others play a more instrumental role in the implementation of said treatment plan. Another integral component of the work of a mental health nurse is communicating with families and other professionals; because these individuals also play a role in a patient's overall treatment and ultimate level of functioning, it is integral they have all necessary information and are incorporated into any treatment strategies that might be implemented.
The nature of the work of a mental health nurse often varies with the level of education an individual has. For example, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) working in the field of mental health would predominantly be responsible for providing patient care and addressing such things as medication adherence. With a bachelor's degree, and ultimately a master's degree, in nursing, however, individuals play a greater role in assessment and the development of a treatment plan. Counseling services can also be provided to patients by professionals at this level. While many mental health nurses work in general treatment hospitals or psychiatric hospitals, still others work in outpatient clinics, home health organizations, or private practices.
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