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Main Discussion Post – Week 10
Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Specialty
Within the Walden MSN program, the specialty chosen was Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner or PMHNP. Because of my work as a behavioral health nurse for eleven years, I am aware of the challenges in treating this population. Therefore, no difficulties arose when making this decision. I knew this was the avenue I wanted to take since the second semester of nursing school. This is when psychiatric nursing and the associated clinicals were taught. It was my favorite subject and I found it extremely interesting. Within the first week of the semester, I read the entire textbook for this class. In addition to my keen interest in psychiatry and mental disorders, I noted the shortage of mental health care providers in the community. I also knew several people who had psych diagnoses and observed the difficulties they faced, including suicide attempts. At this instance, I discovered that nursing is more than a profession. It is a calling; and this is where my passion lies. Therefore, I decided to give back to the community by addressing this issue as a mental health care provider and advocate.
There are several key facts that drove my decision to become a PMHNP. First, mental health is a vital part of our health and well-being and is just as important as physical health. How we feel, think, and behave are determined by our mental health. It also affects our choices, how we cope with stressors, and our relationships (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention [CDC], n.d.). Therefore, maintaining good mental health is essential. There is currently an emergent need to advance our health care system by including mental health treatment in overall care (Congress.gov, n.d.).
Psychiatric disorders are one of the most common health conditions in the United States. More than fifty percent of American citizens will be diagnosed with a mental health issue during their lifetime. Also, twenty percent of children will experience a debilitating mental disorder at some point. Additionally, one in twenty-five Americans lives with a serious mental health disorder such as depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder (CDC, n.d.). According to the World Health Organization (WHO) (n.d.), mental illness is seriously underdiagnosed and undertreated. Stigma and shame are also associated with mental diseases and have created a culture that discourages treatment (WHO, n.d.).
Professional Organization for PMHNP Specialty
The selected professional organization affiliated with the PMHNP specialty is the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA). The membership is composed of fifty percent Psychiatric Registered Nurses and fifty percent Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. Membership is through subscription and payments can be made monthly or yearly (APNA, n.d.). The fee is only $25 per year for students. To become a student member, contact information for the program director and a document on school letterhead is required. An email from the program director or registrar that includes a verification of full-time enrollment can also be used. Standard memberships require an application and the submission of credentialing, employment, and education information (APNA, n.d.).
Mental health disorders occur frequently in the American population and require that measures are implemented to correct the serious provider shortage. Because nurses are uniquely positioned to see and care for patient needs, they are the perfect choice to advance into provider roles. Becoming a PMHNP will allow me to address the pressing issues facing mental health patients. I will also be able to effect positive social change as I treat mental disorders, advocate for sufferers, and provide teaching to reduce the associated stigma and shame (WHO, n.d.).
American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA). (n.d.). About Psychiatric-mental health nursing. https://www.apna.org/about-psychiatric-nursing/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (n.d.). Mental Health. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/index.htm
Congress.gov. (n.d.). Pursuing equity in mental health. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from http://www.congress.gov
World Health Organization (WHO). (n.d.). Transforming mental health for all. https://www.who.int/home/search?indexCatalogue=gen…
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