Psychiatric Nursing Practice

nursingPsychiatric Nursing Practice


John Hopkins was the first school of nursing to include a course in psychiatric nursing in its curriculum.The first psychiatric nursing practice was primarily custodial and focused on nutrition, hygiene and activity.


The role of psychiatric nurses expanded as physical therapies for the treatment of mental disorders were developed. Treatments such as insulin shock therapy, psychosurgery and electroconvulsive therapy required nurses to use their medical-surgical skills more extensively.

Psychiatric nursing practice’s areas of concern pertaining to actual or potential mental health problems are some of the following – problems related to emotions such as anxiety, anger, loneliness and grief and behaviors and mental states that indicate that the client is a danger to self or others.

To sum it all, a psychiatric-mental health nurse collects client health data, analyzes the data, develops a plan of care that prescribes interventions to attain outcomes and implements them in the plan of care. Other responsibilities involve counseling interventions to assist clients in improving or regaining their coping abilities, fosters mental health and preventing mental illness and disability.

Psychiatric nurses as therapists are particularly suited to working with those with severe mental illness in the context of daily activities, focusing on the here and now to meet each person’s psychosocial needs. In time, psychiatric nursing practice was institutionalized and added to nursing curricula. Standards of care of clients were developed and practiced.

When legal problems arise, these professional standards are used to determine safe and acceptable practice and to assess the quality of care.

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