Like all professions, practitioners serving in the mental health industry face many challenges. There will be some good days and some bad days. It will depend upon your passion, will, and girth that whether you are carved for this job or not. It has a lot to give, but it also requires a lot in return. You have to be very strong-willed and patient to reap the benefits which gradually become visible. In the beginning, it looks like it is tough and not worth pursuing. But once you feel the satisfaction of treating a struggling mind, there will be no turning back. The financial benefits might look bleak, and it is challenging, but the emotional experience and learning outweigh them.
As every coin has two sides, here is the complete picture on becoming a mental health nurse
Here are some of the many pros of working as a mental health nurse:
PROS OF MENTAL HEALTH NURSE
The requirements and qualifications lead to a very learning experience as a psychiatric nurse practitioner programs are very educative. They give you knowledge about both medicine and morality. Another perk is that they are easily available
There is flexibility in working hours to some extent, as there are rarely any emergencies. You can make your own schedules as most of the patients are fairly predictable. There is not much physical work required, as well.
Compared to other fields of nursing, there is much more scope for creativity and experience. You get to improvise more and are in control. Doctor intervention is normally not required that frequently.
You get to be in charge most of the time as you understand the patient more. You get to spend more time with individual patients so; basically, you fully comprehend their whole case. This helps you to learn more and also instills a sense of responsibility.
As you get to bond with people on a much deeper level, you also learn a lot about psychiatry and psychology. You delve more into patients’ lives and become vital to them. This generally is a life-changing experience. The simple therapeutic conversation you have with them also influences you.
Experiencing successes gives you inner satisfaction as each case has its own personal importance. This leads to not only greater job satisfaction but also instills a sense of personal achievement. So the emotional reward in this profession is quite high.
Even a little progress in the patient gives such satisfaction as it makes a great deal of difference. No matter how small the change is, but it feels worthwhile as it has a massive impact on patient well-being. You can actually see your efforts pay off in most of the cases.
There are multiple options to choose from, and you get to work in a wide range of settings and with people of all ages and backgrounds. There are many different branches, and you can switch if you feel pressure or monotony seeping in. Some of the different areas include community, prisons, out-patients, addictions services, nursing homes, private clinics and many more. So versatility is an option in its own parameters.
After gaining experience as a mental health nurse, there are many different things you can pursue. To progress further, you can do post-grad to get extra qualifications. Mental health is a vast profession, and you can go a long way from becoming a nurse. There are many masters available through which you can, and you can get certification in CBT or become a trained therapist.
Spending time with struggling patients also has a massive impact on your beliefs. You value your own health, and a sense of gratitude takes over you. Each patient leave a footprint on your heart and soul and make you more empathic as well!
CONS OF MENTAL HEALTH NURSE
Financial rewards are not very appealing as superiors usually get the most of the cut. You have to progress forward to get more or do extra shifts. This can be quite demotivating as you will be working the same hours but getting less pay than nurses working in other fields. This is because most mental health nurses are for community welfare, where the budget is not much. In private roles, the pay can be good, depending upon the nature of the job.
You can get all sorts of patients and sometimes you will come across extremely difficult people. It would be a challenge as they won’t be cooperative and make the situation worse for themselves as well as for you. This impacts you adversely, both professionally and personally.
As with success comes great satisfaction, with losses there will be bigger grief. You will find yourself taking responsibility for the patient’s wellbeing, which can be overwhelming. It will put mental stress on you and increases the risk of burnout which as per studies is higher in this profession!
Moreover, constant exposure to behavioral problems and struggles on a personal level can take a severe emotional toll and lead to compassion fatigue and exhaustion. You will have to learn how to balance your personal and professional life to fight such negativity.
There can be a lot of paperwork involved, as decisions on service users’ capacities will require legalityand confidentiality as well.