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Ask the Mental Health Expert Archives 2001-2004

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Psychiatric Nursing

Q. What does the future look like for psychiatric nursing? What will psychiatric nurses do differently from what they are doing now? Where can I obtain more information about psychiatric nursing?

A. Personally, I think the future is quite bright for psychiatric nursing. In addition to the great demand for psychiatric nursing services, the field has expanded to include higher-level training for advanced practice psychiatric nurses, clinical nurse specialists, and other practitioners who have limited prescribing privileges (usually in a cooperative arrangement with a physician).

Opportunities vary from state to state, however. According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Assocation (APNA), there are over 40,000 clinical nurse specialists now in practice across the U.S., with about 7000 credentialed at the national level; however, not all have prescriptive authority. For more information, I suggest you log on to the APNA website, www.apna.org. Good luck!

April 2002

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