Psychiatric Nursing

Written by Rachel Arieff
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Psychiatric nursing is a complex field full of challenges for the practicing nurse. Dealing as it does with the complex and often mysterious human mind, psychiatric nursing can be one of the most difficult medical fields in which to work. For the same reasons, however, it can be equally fascinating and rewarding. Because of the vast amount of information that most courses require, if you are going into the psychiatric nursing field, it is highly recommended that you invest in some type of condensed study guide. A good study guide will contain the most relevant information only, and discuss disorders in simple language.

One of the keys to success as a psychiatric nurse is to maintain the knowledge base one begins in nursing school. All medical fields experience changes in theory and practice, and psychiatric nursing is no exception. In fact, especially in the case of psychiatric medicine, it behooves those working in the profession to keep up with developments as they occur. Not doing so could result in legal and administrative repercussions such as malpractice, negligence, or charges of false imprisonment.

Issues within Psychiatric Nursing

Some of the issues that psychiatric nurses commonly deal with are anxiety disorders, including phobias, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Other areas include schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, personality disorders, and affective disorders such as depression. Dissociative disorders include amnesia, post-traumatic stress, multiple personalities and depersonalization disorder. Dementia and delirium are often associated with the older population, though they can strike young people as well.

Substance abuse disorders, increasingly common in today's world, are often linked to some of the above-mentioned diseases, including affective disorders and schizophrenia. Eating disorders are another field that is relatively new to psychiatry, and thus continues to yield new understandings and developments. Psychiatric nurses must stay abreast of all new developments, and be prepared to adjust their assessments and treatment plans accordingly.


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