What Is the Difference Between a Psychiatric and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

A psychiatric nurse practitioner has an advanced practice certificate in nursing.

He or she provides care to people with mental health needs.

The care can be provided to individuals, groups, or families.

On the other hand, a psychiatrist is a physician.

Psychiatric completed medical school and residency program with a specialization in psychiatry.

If you want to specialize in the nursing field in psychiatry, the first step is to obtain a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.

Nurses who hold a DNP certificate are also eligible to specialize in psychiatric.

The next step is to get a certificate as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner.

You can search online for available programs in your state.

As for the job duties, a psychiatric nurse practitioner is responsible for almost everything as a psychiatrist.

However, there are some exceptions.

For example, nurse specialized in psychiatric can assess patients, provide diagnose, participate in therapy, and other treatments.

She is also allowed to prescribe medications and educate both patients and families.

A nurse can assist in developing a treatment for plenty of mental disorders and diseases.

Some of the disorders a psychiatric nurse can treat are:

  • Trauma, PTSD, adjustment disorders
  • Substance abuse
  • Schizophrenia and personality disorders
  • Bipolar state
  • Depression
  • Anxiety, panic disorders
  • Depression
  • Attention deficit hyperactive disorder and  other attention disorders

On the other hand, psychiatrists can further specialize in treating different aspects of the mental health system.

Their responsibilities, in that case, goes further and involves treating complex mental disorder.

Some of the disorders psychiatric can treat are:

  • All mental disorders of people age from 18 to 65 years
  • Geriatric patients
  • They can provide social and community rehabilitation
  • Psychiatric can specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Treat disorders caused by the development
  • Liaison psychiatry – emergency department and hospital-based care
  • Addiction psychiatry
  • Psychiatrists can treat learning disabilities of inherited and perinatally acquired mental disorders
  • They can provide psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Eating disorders
  • Neuropsychiatry.

A nurse can treat the same patients as psychiatric in private praxis.

In private praxis work settings, as well as in the facility of the public health system, the nurse will face a broad range of mental disorders.

They can specialize in various disorders, or choose a general psychiatric specialization.

To be able to perform all responsibilities, a psychiatric nurse practitioner must have a certain skill set.

The required skills for a psychiatric nurse practitioner are:

  • Effective work with patients and families
  • Flexibility, adaptability to patients with various health and social backgrounds
  • Advanced listening skills and identification of emotions
  • Informing patients about their disorders
  • Communication skills – detecting verbal cues on emotions and actions of a patients
  • Detection of non-verbal cues
  • Self-control – remaining calm and attentive during crisis or mental disorders episodes
  • The remaining objective with patients with mental disorders
  • Defusing volatile situations and reacting on time to prevent negative outcomes

Psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners are very important in the treatment, diagnosis of patients with mental health disorders.

The team of psychiatric and a nurse work together to prevent, diagnose, and provide adequate treatment, to carry out the plan and adjust it according to the potential improvements or deteriorations of the conditions.

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