As the world rapidly changes along with the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, humans themselves have always been changing along with everything. One of the ever-rising problems which has been a concern with humanity since the beginning of time is mental illness and the demand for proper mental healthcare.
The Prevalence of Mental Health Conditions
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2020, close to one in five adult U.S. citizens live with a mental health condition. This is nearing 53 million citizens that may or may not need proper care for their conditions. With the growing concerns about proper care for those suffering, comes the dire need and demand for more mental health nurses all over the United States.
Although the impact of COVID-19 has been greatly damaging to a lot of folks' mental health, before the pandemic started there were already concerns rising about insufficient healthcare. In fact, right now according to Mental Health America (MHA) in 2021, a whopping 57% of adults suffering from a mental illness are receiving no treatment, this is millions of citizens not equipped with the proper care. However, why is this? COVID-19 without a doubt amplified the fact we are ill-equipped, without a sufficient amount of nurses and healthcare workers to care for mental health patients. While this is true, the issue of a nursing shortage has been around since the 1980s, and even before.
The Important Role of Psychiatric Nurses
With all of this being known, mental health nurses and psych nursing are critical to our society and mental healthcare treatment as a whole, this is due to the fact that this profession is different than our everyday therapists, counselors, or other mental healthcare providers. The demand for these nurses will only continue to rise over the next few years, the urgency of the situation growing with it. Those currently looking for work as a mental health nurse can easily find per diem jobs that are perfect for them with an on-demand healthcare staffing app. Here at NursaTM, we have just that and you can begin finding jobs in minutes!
What Exactly is Mental Health Nursing?
However, what exactly is mental health nursing, and how does it differ from the typical mental healthcare we all think of such as therapists? For beginners, mental health nurses are of course, nurses. These nurses can also be known as psychiatric nurses, they specialize in the field of nursing that involves caring for patients dealing with mental health disorders. Healthcare itself and nursing are truly vast fields that involve a plethora of different professions and specialties, these nurses that specialize in psychiatric patient care are incredibly critical to how our hospitals and other facilities operate.
So these nurses in particular are registered nurses (RNs) that have earned a master’s or doctoral degree in psychiatric mental health nursing. This difference is major from other mental healthcare professions as these types of nurses operate in hospitals, prisons, community centers, and more which may be unusual places for mental healthcare in the eyes of many. So of course, as the name of the profession entails the work of those who have a psych nursing specialty heavily focuses on caring for the mental health demands of individual patients. Care techniques and specific treatments may vary for each patient, the treatments can include prescription medication, psychotherapy, or other mental health relevant treatment options.
What are the Challenges Faced by Mental Health Nurses?
Along with any healthcare profession will, unfortunately, come a plethora of various challenges that healthcare workers will sometimes have to face on a day-to-day basis. Each profession may have different challenges based on what exactly the workers specialize in, mental healthcare is definitely one of those with some more prevalent challenges than other professions may have. However, the one challenge that is extremely present in any healthcare profession is the stress and potential to experience nursing burnout. This is mostly caused by the insufficient amount of healthcare workers which then puts pressure on those currently working in the profession.
Although that’s a big cause of stress and burnout, there are many more factors that build onto those eventually experiencing burnout. Additionally, due to the nature of some that are facing a mental health condition, mental health nurses may have to deal with some unique roadblocks. These varying challenges may include patients denying mental illness, exposure to some patients’ unpredictable behavior, and even increased levels of aggression and violence in some patients. These things on top of the normal stress caused by working in healthcare can be incredibly nerve-wracking for some people and even a threat to nurse and healthcare worker safety. Even this list is just the tip of the iceberg for the challenges that those can face while working in healthcare, while mental health workers are there to care for others, it is also crucial that they themselves practice proper self-care in their own time and while working.