Mental health nurses take the lead in caring for patients with behavioral health needs

May 12, 2022

In honor of Nurse’s Week May 6-12 and Mental Health Awareness Month, we are highlighting the role of the nurse in mental health care. Nurses have always been on the frontlines of caring for patients with behavioral health needs and will continue to be essential as the demand for mental health services increases. We are spotlighting two types of nurses: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners.

Behavioral health nursing can be one of the most challenging, but also rewarding career paths for a nurse to choose. Nurses work in a variety of roles and mental health settings and have different certifications. Like other specialties, mental health nurses can obtain certification in their specialty as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse (PMH-BC). The PMH-BC is awarded once a nurse has worked for two or more hears and has completed at least 2000 hours of direct psychiatric patient care.

“Obtaining certification as a PMH-BC along with three of our other psychiatry registered nurses (RNs) is one of the things I am proudest of as a nurse leader,” said Tiffany Bittner, Patient Care Management (PCM) nurse for Psychiatry and Developmental Pediatrics and Autism. “We have a passion for the behavioral health population and are dedicated to serving them with the most up-to-date care processes and information.”

A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) is a licensed, nationally board certified provider specializing in the care of psychiatric patients. Working alongside the psychiatrist, they often provide some of the same services as medical doctors as part of the holistic team. They are trained to care for patients with mental health issues across the lifespan and in various stages of care and recovery. Nurse practitioners are qualified in assessment, diagnosis, planning and evaluation, and medication management.

One of the unique things about nurses is the wealth of knowledge they bring with them and their desire to share knowledge. PMHNPs are able to assist families through the challenges of navigating the vast, often confusing world of mental health diagnosis, resources and in-depth education.

Do you know excellent psychiatric providers? Texas Children’s is recruiting!

Did you know that Texas Children’s is actively hiring and recruiting for psychiatric advanced practice providers and has already hired its first nurse practitioner dedicated to our behavioral health population? These psychiatric nurse practitioners and other advance practice providers will be seen all over the organization within all campuses and within inpatient and outpatient settings.

“This could not have come at a more appropriate time for our organization,” said Bittner. “With the behavioral health population increasing daily, these nurse practitioners and other physician extenders allow us to increase the number of patients who we are able to provide excellent and thorough care for in their most critical time of need.”

Are you or a family member on Cigna’s medical plan?

Cigna also has a list of Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (NPs) available on their provider network. “Psychiatric NPs are helping expand the options for clients in getting immediate care when they need mental health assistance,” said Allison Bell, EAP Manager.

To see the Cigna Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner resources close to you go to: mycigna .com – Fina Care – Behavioral Health Counselor – Local Provider – Psychiatrists and Nurse Practitioners.

Mental Health Well-Being Survey

During the month of May, Texas Children’s employees are invited to complete the World Health Organization WHO-5 survey. For those working in remote locations or those who would like to take the survey at any time during May, you can access the survey here.