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MSN – Psychiatric Nurse Specialist
At a Glance
One of the best things about getting an advanced nursing degree is that students can choose to specialize in the area of medicine they most enjoy. Educational concentrations vary from school to school, but one option that many colleges offer is a degree in psychiatric nursing. By choosing to become a psychiatric nurse specialist, the patients students see on a daily basis may not be dealing with life-threatening medical conditions like they find in other parts of the medical world, but students still be saving lives by helping them.
A master of science in nursing (MSN) course prepares students for a career working in mental health by teaching them more about psychiatric conditions, as well as readying them for a leadership role in the workplace. As a psychiatric nurse specialist, students often are the first person a patient sees when asking for help. So, it’s the psychiatric nurses job to assess the patient to determine if he or she needs to see a doctor, take medications, seek other forms of treatment, etc. An MSN gives students a good working knowledge of a number of different kinds of psychiatric conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, paranoia, schizophrenia, and dementia.
Students also learn how to communicate with patients of all mental abilities, as well as how to discuss cases with family members or others who may be in charge of making decisions for those who are not mentally able to make decisions for themselves. Coursework prepares students for a number of situations in the mental health field, as these specific challenges are very different than what is found in other kinds of nursing. Once students have their MSN, they can also decide to go on to get their doctorate, which further prepares them for a career in psychiatric nursing.