How Do I Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

Kristie Lorette
Kristie Lorette
Nurse practitioners who specialize in mental-health issues may be employed at a facility that provides inpatient and partial hospitalization services.
Nurse practitioners who specialize in mental-health issues may be employed at a facility that provides inpatient and partial hospitalization services.

In order to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you first have to complete a total of six years worth of college education, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Once you have completed the education requirements, you have take to take and pass an exam in order to obtain your license to work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

The first step to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner is to complete all of the educational requirements. The first educational requirements require you to take and complete a four-year undergraduate degree program in nursing. Once you have completed your undergraduate degree program, then you must enroll in and complete a two-year master’s degree program in nurse practitioners with a specialty in psychiatric care.

Nurse practitioners provide both counseling services and medical care for people who struggle with mental illnesses.
Nurse practitioners provide both counseling services and medical care for people who struggle with mental illnesses.

The next step to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner is to obtain a license to practice. In order to apply for and obtain the license, you first have to pass an exam administered by the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or NCLEX-RN. Some states have additional licensing requirements, so contact the licensing board for the state in which you intend to practice to see if there are any state licenses that you need to obtain.

Once you obtain all of the licensure you need to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you can apply to work for psychiatrists, psychiatric hospitals and hospitals that have a psychiatric ward. Typically, psychiatric nurse practitioners work under the guidance of a licensed psychiatrist.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners diagnose patients and help to determine a course of action to treat the psychiatric ailments of the patients. Similar to psychiatrists, when you become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you will also be able to write prescription medication to treat the psychiatric disorders of the patients that you are treating.

While education and licensure are the two basic requirements to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you should be physically capable of working with patients. Some patients are uncooperative and you may have to help to physically restrain them for their own protection and for your own protection.

When working in a hospital setting, psychiatric nurse practitioners also spend a lot of time on their feet. This includes standing bedside to patients to check on them and administer medicine. It also includes moving from patient room to patient room to do your rounds. In addition, in situations where there is an emergency because a patient is being uncooperative, you may need to run or move quickly to get to the patient room and handle the situation.

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    • Nurse practitioners who specialize in mental-health issues may be employed at a facility that provides inpatient and partial hospitalization services.
      Nurse practitioners who specialize in mental-health issues may be employed at a facility that provides inpatient and partial hospitalization services.
    • Nurse practitioners provide both counseling services and medical care for people who struggle with mental illnesses.
      Nurse practitioners provide both counseling services and medical care for people who struggle with mental illnesses.