Nurses in the mental health field work with adults, children and older people who have any of a variety of mental health conditions. These professionals help people either recover from their illness or to become able to deal with the illness in such a way as to function within their communities. Mental health nurses work closely with psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, general practioners, social workers and other healthcare professionals to help patients maximize their life potential.
Using a multidisciplinary patient centered approach to mental health care; these professionals may work in the homes of patients, in community health care centers, in hospital outpatient departments, or in special secure residential units. As valued members of the medical community, mental health nurses are a well respected and important to the welfare of patients.
Typically mental health nurses fill a wide spectrum of roles. They care for patients who are experiencing either acute or long term mental illness. Nurses build a relationship with the patient and are able to encourage trust while listening to patient needs and concerns. Mental health nurses work with the doctor to ensure the correct administration of medicines whether in liquid, tablet, or injectable forms, as well as on the spot monitoring of the results of these treatments.
Mental health nurses are usually the first responders for patients who are in distress, doing so in a non-threatening and supportive manner. They apply de-escalation techniques to help patients control their emotions and behaviors, often planning or participating in one to one therapy sessions as well a group sessions, along with other health professionals.
Nurses in the mental health field are of the expected to provide evidence based therapy for individuals along the lines of cognitive behavior therapy for such illnesses as depression or anxiety. They encourage patients to participate in art, drama, or occupational therapy when such activities are appropriate. Mental health nurses help organize social activities to help patients improve their social skills.
Record keeping is an important part of mental health nurses jobs in order to ensure that health care plans and risk assessment are kept up to date for each individual patient. They work with the patients? families to help with their on-going education about the patient?s mental health problems. Nurses promote a recovery based approach to care.
In the community, coordinating the care of patients may include visiting patients? homes and assessing patient?s risk of harm.