Psychiatric Nurse Job Description

If you are trying to research the work of a psychiatric nurse, you may be hard pressed to find what you’re looking for. That is because this is a very specialized area of nursing that most people don’t even know about, but that does not take away from the validity of the career. The psychiatric nurse job description below should give you an idea of the work involved with this profession so you can figure out if it is a good match for you.

The Work of a Psychiatric Nurse

It is hard to define a specific psychiatric nurse job description because every employer requires something different. Nevertheless, there are some job duties that remain the same across the board. Those include:

Job Duties

  • Administer medication
  • Change bed pans
  • Check vital signs
  • Evaluate patient needs
  • File progress reports
  • Oversee mental health wards
  • Prepare patients for appointments

This may not be the ideal position for everyone, but it could be a great fit for you. If you can handle the responsibilities listed above, you should be in good shape.

Places of Employment for Psychiatric Nurses

As a psychiatric nurse, you can work under a variety of employers and industries. The demand for psychiatric nurses in your area will play a big role in determining where you can find work, so you have to do a little research into the opportunities in your area. Hopefully some of the lists below will help you find a job in the future.

Here is a list of some of the most common employers for psychiatric nurses:

  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Psychiatric Hospitals
  • Community Mental Health Centers
  • Psychiatric Service Facilities
  • Health Clinics
  • General Health Hospitals

Here is a list of some of the most common industries to find nursing jobs in:

  • Surgery
  • Acute Care
  • Geriatrics
  • Family Practice
  • Pediatrics
  • Medicine
  • Case Management
  • Psychiatry

Educational Requirements for Psychiatric Nurses

In order to become a psychiatric nurse, you have to get a college degree. This is going to give you a foundation of knowledge that you can use to go about your day to day work. There are several degree programs to consider, and any one of them could lead you to this career. Possibilities include:


  • Master of Science in Nursing
  • Diploma of Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Registered Nurse
  • Bachelor of Science in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Nursing
  • Associate of Science in Nursing
  • Associate of Arts in Nursing
  • Associate of Applied Science in Nursing
  • Associate Degree in Nursing

You may also want to get a certification to verify your abilities as a psychiatric nurse. This will require you to go through a special exam, but you should already know everything because of your degree program. Common certifications for psychiatric nurses are as follows:


  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Critical Care
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Family Practice

Pay Rates for Psychiatric Nurses

This psychiatric nurse job description could not be complete without an examination of the money you can earn in this profession. There are several factors that will influence this, so we’ve provided a couple charts to give you a feel for the earning potential in psychiatric nursing. Here’s a look at what you could make as a psychiatric nurse:

Salary by Experience

  • Less than 1 year of experience: $22,500 – $42,500 per year
  • 1-4 years of experience: $37,085 – $66,717 per year
  • 5-9 years of experience: $35,234 – $117,446 per year
  • 10-19 years of experience: $40,000 – $74,500 per year
  • 20 years of experience or more: $42,729 – $74,251 per year

Salary with Benefits

  • Company Pension Plan: $35,541 – $117,446 per year
  • 401(k): $39,594 – $73,974 per year
  • Life Insurance and Disability: $43,336 – $78,504 per year
  • Paid Holidays or Vacation: $39,453 – $74,735 per year
  • 403(b): $28,188 – $89,396 per year
  • Education Reimbursement: $35,541 – $97,871 per year
  • Paid Sick Leave: $40,365 – $74,099 per year

If this psychiatric nurse job description sounds like a awesome opportunity for you, start looking for a school to attend right away. In just a few short years, you could be involved in this specialized profession with ease.