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A psychiatric nurse is a unique nursing specialist who works with psychiatrists and other mental health professionals to help treat patients with disorders of the mind. Common disorders psych nurses treat include anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders.
Their common duties include conducting intake assessments, diagnosing the medical and emotional status of patients, administering and recording reactions to psychotropic drugs, and maintaining a safe and secure environment for staff and patients. Psych RNs also collaborate with clinical and case management staff to coordinate care and assist in patient treatment planning.
Most psych nurses find their career very rewarding, though it comes with its own challenges like any specialty in nursing. The unpredictable and erratic behavior of some patients dealing with certain mental illnesses can be difficult. Because of the unpredictable nature of psychiatric and emotional disturbances, Psych RNs must possess excellent coping and stress management skills, and be able to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds while maintaining proper patient-clinician boundaries.
As most nurses know, case managers have a broad role in hospitals. Usually, you won’t see them wearing scrubs — case managers typically provide more patient case coordination than medical treatment. Case managers work in tandem with a skilled team of professionals to advocate for patients, evaluate, plan, provide resources and facilitate communication with family members. They are responsible for comprehensive coordination of short and long-term care for patients, with the goal of decreasing hospital stay lengths and reducing readmission rates.
Typical duties of a case manager RN include evaluating and assessing new patients, educating families and patients about resources and healthcare options, and communicating with insurance companies to collaborate on or appeal decisions. Most case managers are naturally highly collaborative and find helping patients and their families navigate resources and find solutions rewarding.
They have the challenge of being able to manage a fluctuating caseload during times of high census and working efficiently in a collaborative environment. Because of the cooperative nature of this role, case managers need to have good oral and written communication abilities to communicate effectively with patients, families, and co-workers.