Mental health nurses provide valuable contributions to medicine and are greatly needed to meet the mental health needs of people now and in the future. By offering specialized services, mental health nurse practitioners can help reduce wait times for other doctors’ visits as well.
The implementation of technology in psychiatric nursing helps nurse practitioners provide care to more people, as it improves access and diagnosis speed. Here are just a few of the ways technology has changed psychiatric nursing.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth visits became much more popular due to social distancing measures. This time demonstrated how being able to conduct visits virtually has many benefits, including encouraging patients to keep appointments that they may otherwise have canceled.
Telehealth allows for better access to mental healthcare resources for those who live far from mental health providers or who have disabilities or disorders that make it difficult for them to commute. It is also easier to fit in a telehealth visit around childcare and work schedules.
Virtual counseling sessions can be accessed on demand in some cases, making them a great choice to utilize when a patient is having an unexpectedly difficult moment or crisis. Being able to receive care and help exactly when needed saves lives and prevents situations from escalating.
Virtual sessions and telehealth allow more people to receive care
It is easier for mental health nurses and other care providers to switch from one patient to the next when sessions are conducted virtually. Fitting in a session when there are other cancellations is one example of how technology can help mental health nurses get more out of the workday. This means that mental health professionals, particularly Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs), can care for more patients in the same amount of time without compromising the quality of care offered to each one.
Advanced questionnaires and screeners
Patients must receive a timely and highly accurate diagnosis. Software that is designed to help with this can speed up diagnosis and prevent excess time spent at a clinic. For example, there are quizzes or screeners that patients can complete on a phone, tablet, or computer that will help a mental health nurse get a better idea of what problems a patient is experiencing. Giving a patient extra time to fill out a medical history and assess problems can also be helpful.
Screening questionnaires are based on rigorously tested software. These programs are used to help mental health nurses make a diagnosis. Although nurses are highly skilled, using software helps avoid missing important signs or making mistakes that can affect patient treatment plans and outcomes.
By using screeners, patients can get a lot more out of sessions. Advanced screeners also reduce the cost of healthcare as they save a lot of time.
Mental health nurse practitioners are in high demand
One highly important mental health professional is the PMHNP. Registered Nurses (RNs) who would like to learn more about what an PMHNP does every day should explore a course at Rockhurst University.
Rockhurst University offers an online PMHNP degree designed for working RNs who want to take the next step in their career. In just two years of full-time classes, nurses can earn a degree to become a practicing PMHNP. Courses are entirely online but students are also supported with clinical placements and a single campus visit during their studies.
Mental health nurses, particularly nurse practitioners and PMHNPs, are in short supply. Overwhelming demand for medical and mental health services means now is a great time for interested individuals to gain an advanced degree and the salary perks that come with it.
Mental health nurse practitioners help up to 15 patients per day
Patient loads can vary a lot depending on the needs of each individual patient. For example, a mental health nurse may see four patients who need full mental health evaluations and initial treatment while others may just need to check in or have a short session to reevaluate an ongoing condition.
Telehealth services may also impact how many patients a mental health nurse can see in a day.
Collaborating to form and implement treatment plans
Mental health nurses diagnose and help patients by forming treatment plans and establishing realistic goals and milestones that offer the best chance of success. This is important for long-term results because people in general tend to create goals that are initially too high. They may fail to meet a goal that is too large to accomplish in a short period of time or have unrealistic expectations of how they will feel. When this happens, they can interpret this as being unable to be helped or cured of their condition.
While mental health nurses offer a great deal of help, they are not the only professionals involved in many treatment plans. Mental health counseling sessions, psychiatrist visits, and other doctors may be involved with the treatment of a patient. For example, there may be physical health issues that require a specialist or an MD to assess and fully treat them too.
The rise in mental health issues and substance abuse has contributed to an increased demand for psychiatric services. A large population of aging adults also adds to the demand.
Better access to mental health services improves communities and allows them to thrive. A lot of work towards improving access must be done to meet the overall need for care in rural and disadvantaged areas.
Social stigma around seeking care still exists. The use of telehealth and virtual sessions can help eliminate some of this stigma by keeping healthcare more private and accessible to patients and their families who want to be more supportive of one another.