Steps in Patient Care
In Caring for Patients with Mental Health Needs, What Does a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Do?
A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is trained to care for patients with mental health issues across the lifespan. Nurse practitioners are qualified in assessment, diagnosis, planning and evaluation, often providing some of the same services as medical doctors.
When caring for a patient, the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner role may include a series of steps in patient care, such as:
Carry Out Examinations & Mental Health Illness Assessments
Diagnose Psychiatric Illness
Educate the Patient and Family
Prescribe a Treatment Plan, including Medications
Coordinate Services for Other Healthcare Components
Provide Individual Psychotherapy & Counseling Services
Provide Medication Assisted Treatment for SUD
Lead Group Psychotherapy Sessions
NP’s Caring for You
You will have access to a Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner working together to care for your physical and mental health needs.
Due to high rates of co-occurring conditions with psychiatric disorders, coordinated care is especially important for patients experiencing mental illness. Individuals with psychiatric and physical comorbidity face complex effects, including:
High Degree of Medical Complications
Decrease in Activity Levels
Lower Life Expectancy
Diminished Quality of Life
Higher Medical Expenses
The cause-and-effect nature of mental health/medical comorbidity can go either way. For example, drugs prescribed for psychiatric conditions can cause adverse physical effects such as weight gain. On the other hand, an adverse medical condition can lead to mental health implications like depression.
This is why healthcare advocates like the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation promote models of collaboration in the treatment of mental illness.
A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is prepared with advanced knowledge in the focused area of mental health. This includes the scientific basis of identified disorders and specific treatments, including psychotropic medication and psychotherapy.
As the country is facing a crisis in mental health, many people are not getting needed help, leading to a multitude of implications for individuals, families and communities.
Many individuals remain undiagnosed and untreated. This lag means that the condition may progressively worsen, decreasing the likelihood of positive outcomes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can people get over mental illness without medication?
Mental illness is a medical illness. A person does not simply “get over” mental illness without some form of treatment. Mental illness is generally a lifelong, chronic medical illness that needs consistent treatment. Generally, treatment involves a combination of medication, therapy, behavior modification, lifestyle changes. Treatment plans should be individualized based on specific individualized needs.
Can people stabilize a mental illness simply with medication alone?
Though medications can often aid in the treatment of mental illness, it is unlikely that taking medication as the sole form of treatment will be effective in “getting over” or stabilizing one’s mental illness. Professionals generally recommend therapy along with medications to manage mental illness most effectively.
People who suffer the mental illness of severe depression may put pressure on themselves to just “get over” return to active participation again, but like other mental illnesses, it takes therapy and sometimes medication to stabilize.
Does exercising help control mental illness just by itself?
By itself, exercise is unlikely to control many types of mental illness. Many health care professionals think that physical exercise has a positive effect on depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses, though all caution that more clinical research must be done on the subject. There does seem to be a large section of the medical community that believes physical exercise, in conjunction with therapy and prescription medication, is very beneficial to persons living with mental illnesses, as it is for all people.
Is mental illness a chronic disorder?
Chronic is defined as, “lasting for a long period of time or marked by frequent recurrence” or “of long duration; continuing.” Many, if not most, mental illnesses could be categorized as chronic in that the individual living with a certain mental illness will never “get over” that illness. But this is not to say that many symptoms of various mental illnesses cannot be largely alleviated through treatment. If treated correctly, many mental illnesses will have a minimal impact on those living with them.
Is it all in the person's head?
Physical well-being can greatly affect mental well-being and alleviating certain types of physical distress can improve a person’s mental health. Mental illnesses are by definition, medical illnesses. The feelings, thoughts, hallucinations, and fears that a person with mental illness might experience are not imagined. They are very real to the person.
Where are the best resources for suicide prevention?
A good place to start looking for information about suicide prevention is at the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) at www.sprc.org or by telephone at 877-438-7772. Another resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or by telephone at 800-273-8255. Also check out the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) at www.afsp.org or by telephone at 888-333-AFSP.