dcsimg

Career Story: Psychiatric Clinical Nurse

Psychiatric Clinical Nurse

Job Title: Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist

Type of Company: An outpatient psychiatric service at a hospital.

Education: BS, Psychology, Smith College •• MSN, Psychiatric Nursing, Yale University

Previous Experience: While I was in nursing school, I worked part-time as a patient care tech on an inpatient unit at a mental health center.

Job Tasks: I work as a psychotherapist in a hospital-based outpatient psychiatric service. The outpatient service provides individual and group therapy. We have an intensive outpatient program for clients needing intensive care, who come to groups three mornings a week. We also have a substance abuse program which offers intensive treatment (meeting three mornings or evenings a week), relapse prevention groups and substance abuse education groups that meet once a week for an hour. My job is to provide therapy to individuals and groups. My clients range from those with chronic mental illnesses, like depression, bipolar illness and anxiety disorders, and psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia, to people who generally function well in their lives, but periodically have crises or developmental issues that they seek counseling for -- relationship problems, like marital conflicts or parent-child conflicts, for example, or grief over the loss of a family member.

On a typical day I see 6-8 clients for individual therapy. Once a week I lead an older adult supportive therapy group. In this group older adults have an opportunity to connect with others, and to give and receive support with the issues of aging, for example, loss of loved ones, physical infirmity, isolation, decreased independence. Many of my clients are taking psychiatric medications that are typically prescribed by psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and primary care doctors. I work collaboratively with the client's prescriber to insure optimal care. I also meet with family members of clients when the client and I determine that this would be beneficial. Some clients I meet with weekly for only a few weeks. Others I see on an ongoing basis to help them maintain their stability.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the opportunity it provides me with to listen to the stories of others, to help others resolve problems and function at the highest level possible. It's very rewarding to witness clients making positive changes in their lives.

The worst part of the job is that it can be very stressful when clients are potentially suicidal. Often there's a fine line between a client's feeling that his or her life isn't worth living and their needing to be hospitalized to protect them from hurting themselves.

Job Tips: I would recommend for anyone thinking of pursuing a job in psychotherapy to work in a mental health setting or volunteer for a crisis hotline. Talk with someone who does the kind of work that you are interested in. Read books about mental health care and memoirs of those who lived with a major mental illness.

Additional Thoughts: Psychotherapy can be a roller coaster. It's extremely rewarding when clients are actively engaged in resolving problems. It can be very frustrating when clients are passive and expect the therapist to fix them. For me the satisfaction of the work far outweighs the stresses and frustrations. It helps to talk with colleagues in peer supervision to help keep the work in perspective.

Popular Schools offering Rn Registered Nursing Programs

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

Matching School Ads

Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

  • Programs: MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Degrees: Master

Wilkes University’s School of Nursing offers CCNE-accredited online degrees and certificate programs ideal for working health care professionals, instructed by experienced, respected faculty dedicated to mentoring and personalized support for every student.

  • Programs: M.S. with Major in Nursing - Nursing Informatics, RN to BS, RN to MS - Nursing Informatics, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor, Doctorate

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: Doctor of Education - Nursing Education
  • Degrees: Doctorate

Study online with California University of Pennsylvania.

  • Programs: MSN Nursing Administration & Leadership (Master of Science) - Online
  • Degrees: Master
National Career College
Panorama City

Choosing a school and a new career path can be a very overwhelming process.

  • Programs: Licensed Vocational Nurse
  • Degrees: Certificate

Get the hands-on training you need to succeed at Blake Austin College.

  • Programs: Vocational Nursing
  • Degrees: Certificate
Matching School Ads

Additional Career Stories for Registered Nurses

The inside stories from people actually working in the field.
Click a story title to show the story, and click the title again to hide it.

All Types

You are visiting:

Find a school near you

What are Career Stories?

Career Stories are concise, real-world career overviews written by people relating their personal career experiences and wisdom. They provide invaluable insights and mentoring advice to students and career changers.

Most stories include:

  • a typical day or project
  • tips and advice
  • best and worst parts
  • educational background
  • previous experience

Browse hundreds of Career Stories

More Details On This Career

Please also see our detailed information about Registered Nurses, including: