Nurse practitioners (NPs) with a specialization in psychiatric mental health are growing in demand gradually. This demand is expected to rise as mental health awareness grows and more people realize that getting help is not bad.
If you are hoping to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP), then you will be pleased to know that there are now online psychiatric NP programs available to Arizona residents. However, if you are confused about whether you should opt for the degree, we shall look at why you should consider becoming a psychiatric NP.
What Is a PMHNP?
A PMHNP is a general NP with a specialization in psychiatry. These nurses are responsible for catering to patients with mental health issues, diagnosing mental health conditions, prescribing treatment, and formulating recovery plans. Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners also prescribe antidepressants and offer therapeutic sessions, emergency care, and other medication/treatments.
What Is the Role of a PMHNP?
- PMHNPs care for and diagnose patients with mental health issues
- Evaluate and treat bipolar and depression patients and those with other mental disorders
- Help patients with substance or drug abuse problems
- PMHNPs may work in local, private, or state hospitals/clinics or private psychiatric practices
Reasons to Opt for Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program
Let’s examine the reasons why you should opt for an online or in-school psychiatric nurse practitioner program:
Growing Psychiatric NP Numbers
Psychiatric NPs account for 6.5% of licensed NPs in the United States, as reported by the AANP (American Association of Nurse Practitioners). The total number of NPs with licenses working in the U.S is currently around 355,000.
Even though PMHNPs account for a small fraction of the total number of practicing NPs, the numbers are steadily on the rise. With an increase in nurse practitioners, it is also likely that the number of nurses specializing in psychiatry will grow.
Increased Accessibility for Patients
An increase in mental health awareness and other related disorders has made people realize that reaching out for help is not cowardly. Mental health care was not as accessible in the past as it is today. People found it difficult to find suitable mental health professionals, and affording treatment was only a dream in the past.
Accessibility and service have greatly improved due to an increase in the number of people willing to seek treatment. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed on 30th March 2010, provides more rights, making health coverage simpler and fairer. This allows patients to get the most appropriate treatment for their condition without worry.
- As lifespan increases, so does the aging population. Psychiatric NPs can also cater to seniors at a high risk of depression due to feelings of loneliness and solitude.
- The pandemic made it harder for older adults to stay active, causing a rise in mental health issues. This increased the demand for PMHNPs even more.
Better Mental Health Awareness
Mental health is discussed more often in the modern era than it was ever talked about in the past. More people understand how poor mental health leads to awful life quality and is also a major reason for other health issues.
The stigma around mental health as not being an issue that needs help or treatment is slowly fading away. People that did previously reach out for help were looked down upon. However, they can now seek help without embarrassment.
Awareness not only means noticing issues in your behavior or thought patterns but also the ability to see if a loved one is facing mental troubles. Realizing that a loved one has anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health issues allows family/friends to coax them into getting help.
All of this has increased the importance of mental health professionals and nurse practitioners. Awareness and the willingness to seek help or push others to get help are major factors contributing to the ever-rising demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners.
Job Growth and Better Salaries
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has deduced that NP jobs will grow by 45% from 2019 to 2029 compared to the 4% growth rate for other jobs. The average annual salary of an NP was $117,195 based on the 27th October 2022 results. Salary can vary based on location, expertise, etc. Private practice nurses often make the most, with the best earning around 15% more as compared to regular nurses. The range can vary between $108,749 and $127,318.
The average annual psychiatric NP salary is $143,240, with $15,000 additional for overtime. This can range between $91,000 to about $138,000 based on location and expertise.
If you are considering opting for a psychiatric nurse practitioner program, qualification not only allows you to understand yourself better, but it also aids you in helping others and meeting the rising demand.