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

quickinfoClick the Visit School Site buttons to go directly to a school's website and learn more about the school and programs it has to offer. School website will open in a new tab. .

Click the Request Info buttons to request more information from a representative at the school

Matching School Ads
West Coast University
Anaheim, North Hollywood, Ontario

West Coast University

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, MSN - Informatics (Online), MSN – Advanced Generalist (Online), more...
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master

Grand Canyon University - College of Nursing & Health Care Professions. Online & Campus - Bachelor's and Master's Degrees!

  • Programs: Doctor of Nursing Practice with an Emphasis in Educational Leadership, M.S. in Nursing with an Emphasis in Leadership in Health Care Systems (Bridge), Doctor of Nursing Practice, more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate, Certificate, Master
Platt College
Alhambra

Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

  • Programs: Vocational Nursing Program*
  • Degrees: Associate

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: RN to MS - Nursing Informatics, M.S. with Major in Nursing - Nursing Informatics, DNP - Doctor of Nursing Practice, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Doctorate

Established in 1897, Bradley University is a private, independent institution of higher learning in Peoria, Illinois. Inspired by our founder, notable philanthropist Lydia Moss Bradley, we pursue excellence in teaching, research, scholarship and service; and we celebrate leadership, integrity, diversity and collaborative learning.

  • Programs: Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Leadership Track (MSN to DNP), Online Master of Science in Nursing (BSN to MSN-FNP), Online Doctor of Nursing Practice - Family Nurse Practitioner Track (BSN to DNP), more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate, Master
Unitek College
Hayward

Unitek College™ is a privately held vocational school dedicated to helping you gain the skills needed to advance your career or begin a brand new career. 

  • Programs: Associate of Science in Nursing, Vocational Nursing
  • Degrees: Associate, Certificate

For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

  • Programs: Master of Science in Nursing
  • Degrees: Master

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota's Online Master's Programs

At Saint Mary's, we take pride in offering online graduate degrees designed to complement the schedules of working adults like you. Get an affordable, convenient education from a top-ranked university that's grounded in real-world applications.

  • Programs: Online - RN to Bachelors of Science in Nursing
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Baker College is proud to be the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. With one of the highest graduate employment rates in the country, our mission is to help our students find meaningful employment.

  • Programs: Nursing (Post-licensure) - Bachelor, Nursing Administration - Master's
  • Degrees: Bachelor, Master

Pursue your education at Ohio Christian University.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
  • Degrees: Bachelor
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:

Back to Top
SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104