The MSN with a specialization in psychiatric and mental health degree prepares health professionals to work with patients of all age groups including both families and individuals, to diagnose medical disorders and prescribe treatments. This is a specialization where one can earn more money than a regular RN, work directly with patients, and have a lot of flexibility and workplace options.
Requirements for Earning an MSN – Psychiatric and Mental Health Degree
In order to be accepted into an MSN program, the applicant should have a BSN already, or he or she can do an RN to BSN to MSN program. The applicant can chose an online degree program or enroll in a full- or part-time on-campus degree program. To be admitted to the degree program, the applicant must have completed 60 semester or 90 quarter hours of required general education coursework, including courses in physical science (general or organic chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, microbiology), math (introductory statistics), and general social sciences and humanities courses. While online programs are limited for this degree, some schools, like Kaplan, American Sentinel, Grand Canyon, or the University of Cincinnati, offer relevant alternatives. The admitted applicant will take both general courses and courses in his or her specialization. Some general courses include:
- health policy
- scientific basis for clinical reasoning
- pathophysiology for advanced nursing practice
Average Salary and Career Data for Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurses
According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree earned a median salary of $64,690 in 2010. This number shows that half of the nurses in this field made more than that amount, and the other half made less. Earning an advanced nursing degree, as well as specializing in a specific field, increases a nurse’s earning power as well as their job opportunities. This field is growing faster than average, so nurses can expect the job market to stay strong over the next 10 years.
Job Duties for a Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse
MSN graduates with a specialization in psychiatric and mental health work in all areas of health care including: acute care, emergency services, cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, psychotherapy, psychiatric/mental health, critical care, counseling, education, psychiatric medication, intervention, and research. Their job responsibilities include working directly with patients to diagnose, provide therapy, and to prescribe psychiatric medication to treat mental disorders as well as substance abuse problems. They also provide emergence psychiatric services, treatment plans, and perform psychosocial and physical assessments of their patients.