Psych Nursing counselling patient.

4 Traits of an Effective Psychiatric Nurse

Students attending BC Nursing Schools to study Psychiatric Nursing are preparing themselves for a challenging and rewarding career helping patients and the communities they serve. Psychiatric nurses care for patients with mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar, depression and also patients with challenging behavioural disorders, helping them succeed in their treatment.

Psychiatric Nurse counselling patient. They help people to have successful treatments for behavioural disorders.

Students who have graduated from nursing programs know that there are many vital traits all successful Psychiatric Nurses share. These traits include:

Critical Thinking

As no two patients have the same psychological needs, it is imperative that a Psychiatric Nurse doesn’t employ the exact same treatment methods or approaches for every patient. Each patient needs a personalized approach to care, and this can be implemented through critical thinking techniques.

A Psychiatric Nurse will often make an assessment of the patient based on notes from the doctor or from other nurses tending to the patient. Psychiatric nurses will compile their course of action from known psychiatric nursing techniques, but their ability to analyze and think critically is what will help make their treatment personal and more effective.


A Registered Psychiatric Nurse can never forget that they are treating a person’s mind, personality and emotions. While empathy is helpful when it comes to physical treatment, it is indispensable for Psychiatric Nursing.

In order to employ empathy with patients, a Psychiatric Nurse needs to have excellent interpersonal skills. They also need to be a great listener and know where the patient is coming from, drawing on personal experiences if they have not been in a similar situation themselves.


A Psychiatric Nurse is someone patients and co-workers rely on for support. As such, it is clear that a successful Psychiatric Nurse needs to be an extremely reliable person. Their demeanor on a day to day basis must also be consistent. When treating patients with mental illness, it is important that a nurse’s attitude or quality of care does not waver from person to person, or from day to day. Reliability also encompasses a wide range of other qualities, including professionalism and accountability.

Sincere Interest

Psychiatric Nurses need to be able to put a patient at ease and instill confidence in them. For a Psychiatric Nurse to impart this confidence, they not only need to be confident but also be genuinely interested in what they are doing.

Students who graduate from nursing programs in BC know that this isn’t the type of job you do just to collect a paycheque. Working as a Psychiatric Nurse is a career that requires a passion to help others, a deep understanding of the brain and how mental illness affects patients, and a desire to invoke change.

What makes Psychiatric Nursing a fascinating career option for you?

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Program: Psychiatric Nursing

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Do you live outside of Canada? Inquire on our international website!

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