MSN – Adult Psychiatric & Mental Health Care

One of the MSN specialty choices that many colleges offer is adult psychiatric and mental health care, a subset of adult nursing. An MSN in adult psych care prepares nurses with the knowledge and skills necessary to care for adults with psychiatric and mental health issues. Nurses in this program focus on developing skills that allow for flexibility in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of people that are in need of psychiatric care.

Overview of a MSN – Adult Psych Care Program

  • Students learn diagnostic and therapeutic regimes for the mentally ill and people with substance abuse disorders.
  • Students study behavior and mental processes using a structure of multiple descriptions: cultural/ethnic, intrapsychic, developmental, neurobiologic, familial, and social.
  • Clinical studies are often required and focus on various types of assessment, evaluation and psychotherapeutic interventions.
  • Students develop their assessment skills and knowledge base in neuropsychopathology, psychopharmacology, and mental health evaluation.
  • Coursework trains students to understand concepts such as: biological and psychological theories, diagnosing alcohol and drug abuse, assisting at-risk patients and their families, psychiatric ethics, psychopharmacology, and record keeping for patients receiving psychiatric care.

Steps to Become an Adult Psych Care Nurse

  1. Earn an Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing.
  2. Receive a Registered Nurse Certification.
  3. Enroll and complete a MSN program with a concentration in adult psychiatric care from an accredited school like Capella University, Georgetown University, Purdue University, South University, or University of Cincinnati.
  4. Obtain PMHNP certification and proper licensure, which varies by state.

Adult Psych Care Salary and Career Information

The job setting will vary depending on what specific job you get. Possible options include hospitals, psychiatric treatment facilities, community centers, government-funded mental health hospitals, military hospitals, home healthcare companies, schools, veteran’s hospitals, correctional facilities, managed healthcare providers, and private psychiatric clinics. While it is not often a prerequisite to find a job, membership with the American Nurses Association (ANA) can increase your employability. Other membership benefits include access to the continuing education library, annual conferences, news updates relevant to the field, savings on ANA books, professional liability insurance, and a vast network to connect with.

The average salary of nurse practitioners and registered nurses varies by location, experience, and the type of employer you have. For more information on your earning potential, please refer to our nursing job outlook page.

Online MSN – Adult Psychiatric & Mental Health Care Degrees

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