Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses

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About the Job

Provide advanced nursing care for patients with psychiatric disorders. May provide psychotherapy under the direction of a psychiatrist.

It is also Called

  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Psychiatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
  • Psychiatric Nurse
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse (PMH Nurse)
  • Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Mental Health Nurse
  • Family Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Deputy Director of Clinical Specialty Services
  • Coordinator of the Psychiatric Liaison Service
View All

What They Do

  • Direct or provide home health services.
  • Treat patients for routine physical health problems.
  • Provide routine physical health screenings to detect or monitor problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • Monitor the use and status of medical and pharmaceutical supplies.
  • Administer medications including those administered by injection.
  • Teach classes in mental health topics such as stress reduction.
  • Develop, implement, or evaluate programs such as outreach activities, community mental health programs, and crisis situation response activities.
  • Refer patients requiring more specialized or complex treatment to psychiatrists, primary care physicians, or other medical specialists.
  • Develop practice protocols for mental health problems based on review and evaluation of published research.
  • Participate in treatment team conferences regarding diagnosis or treatment of difficult cases.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SI.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Investigative environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Working Conditions and Support in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Medicine and Dentistry - Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Additional Resources

Preparation Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).


In 2017, the average annual wage in California was $102,700 with most people making between $64,430 and $151,210


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 256,000 people in California. It is projected that there will be 300,300 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 4,430 openings due to growth and about 6,040 replacement openings for approximately 10,470 total annual openings.