Psychiatric nurses are registered nurses (RNs) who provide mental
health education, treatment, and counseling to individuals and groups in a
variety of settings.
Psychiatric nurses hold a nursing degree and certification (RN). This requires a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) from a 4-year university
or an associate degree in nursing (ADN) from a 2-year college. All graduates
must successfully pass the Registered Nurse Licensing Examination. Graduation
from a state-accredited program is a prerequisite to taking the licensing
Advanced practice nurses (APNs) are RNs who have met advanced
educational and clinical practice requirements. They work as Clinical Nurse
Specialists (CNS) or as Nurse Practitioners (NPs). APNs who specialize in mental
health nursing diagnose and treat individuals or families. And in many states they
can prescribe medicines.
A registered nurse must hold a current license in the state in
which he or she practices. Licensing requirements are managed by individual
state boards of nursing.