NSG-322: Behavioral health nursing is a course that teaches students how to use the nursing process to provide behavioral health care in the community and acute inpatient settings for individuals, families, and community groups. Most importantly, the emphasis is placed on primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of behavioral health care, including pharmacotherapy and nursing interventions for clients in crisis and clients with serious and persistent mental illness. Concepts including therapeutic communication, interdisciplinary collaboration, client-centered coping-skills, and affective skills of critical thinking integrate with biopsychosocial, spiritual, and cultural aspects of behavioral health nursing practice.
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What is behavioral health?
Behavioral health refers to the connection between behaviors and the health and well-being of the body, mind, and spirit. Therefore, behavioral health comprises many healthcare services such as mental healthcare, psychiatric care, marriage/family counseling, substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery as well as management of chronic diseases.
What is the difference between behavioral health and mental health?
Behavioral health and mental health are often used interchangeably. However, mental health concentrates mainly on a person’s psychological state while behavioral health focuses on a wide range of issues like physical and mental problems.
Who is a behavioral health nurse?
A behavioral health nurse works with individuals, families, groups, and communities, assessing their mental health needs. Moreover, a behavioral health nurse develops a nursing diagnosis and plan of care, implements the nursing process, and evaluates it for effectiveness. Thus, the primary work of a behavioral health nurse is to offer primary care services to the psychiatric-mental health population such as supporting people with mental disorders ranging from anxiety, depression, etc.
What do behavioral health nurses do?
Behavioral health nurses have many duties that are concerned with supporting people with mental issues. Some of the duties of behavioral health nurses include the following:
- Assessing and planning nursing care requirements.
- Visiting patients at home.
- Organizing workloads.
- Building relationships with, reassuring, and listening, and talking to the patients.
- Administering medication.
- Combating stigma and helping patients and their families manage it.
- Agreeing and reviewing care plans and monitoring progress.
- Giving advice and arranging support for patients, relatives, and caregivers.
- Liaising with doctors, social workers, and other professionals.
- Assessing treatment success at case conferences and meetings
- Writing and updating patient records
- Reassuring patients to take part in therapeutic activities such as art and role play.
Where do behavioral health nurses work?
- The NHS
- General, psychiatric and secure hospitals
- Residential and nursing homes
- Community and rehabilitation units
- Special units within prisons
What are the necessary skills for successful behavioral health nurses?
- Empathy: successful behavioral health nurses have the ability to empathize with other people.
- Knowledgeable: they should have a good understanding of the theories of mental health and illnesses.
- Teamwork: successful behavioral health nurses must have excellent teamwork skills. This is because this field involves working with other health care professionals and in different health care settings,
- Excellent communication skills: Behavioral health nurses should have excellent verbal and written communication skills. This is because their job involves interacting with other professionals, patients, families, and communities.
- Resilient: resilience is an essential quality if you want to become a successful behavioral health nurse. Moreover, having the ability to maintain some psychological distance from your work also enables behavioral health nurses to perform best at work and in their lives.
- Problem-solving skills.