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How mental health nurses form collaborative partnerships for patient treatment

by sophiajames

Mental health concerns are fairly common in the US. However, it may come as a surprise to learn that even though so many people across the country suffer from mental illnesses, there is a stigma attached to it. As a result, those who do have a mental illness are often hesitant to seek professional help. This has resulted in a gap between those who need mental health treatment and those who have access to the right care. 

Therefore, if you are passionate about mental health, want to help remove the stigma associated with mental illnesses, and ensure that people get access to the care they need, you should consider becoming a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. This role will enable you to have a meaningful impact on the lives of patients and become an advocate for them and their rights. 

Becoming a psychiatric mental health nurse

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a greater prevalence of mental illness, and now, people are more aware of the importance of good mental health. That is why there is a growing demand for mental health nurses in the US. At the same time, there is a shortage of mental professionals in the country. More than 150 million people live in areas where there is a shortage of mental health professionals. Therefore, this is the perfect time to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. 

Of course, it is necessary to know how to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. You can enroll in the online Master of Science in Nursing – Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN-PMHNP) program offered by Rockhurst University. You can join as a full-time or part-time student. The course is open to nurses with a BSN degree and a valid RN license. This advanced online master’s program is designed for those who want to take up a leadership role and become a mental health advocate. The program allows you to hone your skills in psychiatric mental health nursing and provide holistic care to patients who need it. The program is delivered by Saint Luke’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences and is a mix of academics and clinical experience. Rockhurst University provides clinical placement services to help you get hands-on experience. 

Once you qualify as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, you will work in a mental health services team. This is because mental health requires a multi-pronged approach. A mental health team provides immense benefits and offers optimal treatment outcomes. That is why mental health nurses often collaborate with other health professionals. It also allows you to learn from other professionals and understand the other team members’ perspectives. 

Providing collaborative care

As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, you provide collaborative care as you work alongside other healthcare professionals. 

One of the most important team members is the psychiatrist. These medical doctors specialize in mental health and play a vital role in diagnosing, treating and managing mental disorders. As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, you work closely with psychiatrists to assess patients, formulate a comprehensive treatment plan, and provide holistic care. In addition, you monitor the medication that the psychiatrist prescribes to patients. 

Psychologists are also important members of mental health teams. The role of a psychologist is to perform psychological assessments and tests. They concentrate on psychotherapy. The role of a mental health nurse practitioner involves consulting the psychologist so that they get a better understanding of patients’ psychological state. This enables them to create a treatment plan that incorporates the psychiatrist’s recommendations. This ensures that patients get well-rounded treatment that takes into account different aspects of their mental health needs. 

Sometimes, a primary care physician is part of the mental health team. At times, physical health issues and mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, can occur simultaneously. In such circumstances, the primary care doctor may be the first healthcare professional to discover that the patient has a mental health condition. Therefore, the doctor will refer the patient to a mental health professional, such as a mental health nurse practitioner, while also addressing their physical health care needs. If a patient has both physical and mental health conditions, this interdisciplinary collaboration leads to better outcomes.  

Social workers can also be part of the mental health team. These professionals address the social factors that have an impact on a person’s wellbeing. As a psychiatric mental health nursing professional, you may have to collaborate with social workers to ensure that patients have access to community resources, such as financial help or a support network. While you use your mental health nursing expertise, working alongside a social worker ensures that the patient gets the right treatment and that social and environmental factors that affect mental health get addressed. This leads to better treatment outcomes and improves the overall quality of life of the patient, both during and after treatment. 

In a healthcare setting, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners often collaborate with nurses from other specialties. These nurses can be from the ER, the general medical surgery or even pediatrics. When collaborating with other nurses, the aim is to provide holistic patient care. You provide information to these nurses and coordinate care. You also ensure that you communicate the right information and details about the patient to all departments. This collaborative approach to patient care integrates mental health and general medical services. As a result, the patient enjoys comprehensive and coordinated care. 


A career as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is rewarding, as it allows you to work with other mental healthcare professionals to promote positive outcomes and empower patients as they traverse the path to mental wellness.

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