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Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurse

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Master's degree

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What They Do

About This Career

Assesses, diagnoses, and treats individuals and families with mental health or substance use disorders or the potential for such disorders. Applies therapeutic activities, including the prescription of medication, per state regulations, and the administration of psychotherapy.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Monitors patients' medication usage and results.
  • Documents patients' medical and psychological histories, physical assessment results, diagnoses, treatment plans, prescriptions, or outcomes.
  • Diagnoses psychiatric disorders and mental health conditions.
  • Evaluates patients' behavior to formulate diagnoses or assess treatments.
  • Distinguishes between physiologically- and psychologically-based disorders, and diagnoses appropriately.
  • Assesses patients' mental and physical status, based on the presenting symptoms and complaints.
  • Educates patients and family members about mental health and medical conditions, preventive health measures, medications, or treatment plans.
  • Collaborates with interdisciplinary team members, including psychiatrists, psychologists, or nursing staff, to develop, implement, or evaluate treatment plans.
  • Writes prescriptions for psychotropic medications as allowed by state regulations and collaborative practice agreements.
  • Develops and implements treatment plans.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Adult Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
  • Advanced Practice Nurse Psychotherapist (APN Psychotherapist)
  • Nurse
  • Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse (PMH Nurse)


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


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