The COVID-19 pandemic has put great mental stress on people around the world. From the loss of loved ones to missed milestones, to economic struggles and social isolation, to simply fear and uncertainty of what the future might bring, COVID-19 has taken a toll on the mental health of many. And unfortunately, this pandemic is likely to have a lasting mental health impact as we learn to cope with loss and a “new normal.”
With mental health needs increasing across the United States, the demand for qualified, specialized mental health care professionals are greater than ever before. If you are a Registered Nurse contemplating advancing your degree, you might consider helping to lessen the mental health burden in our communities, by becoming a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). There is no greater time than the present to get started in this field and to help patients who are afflicted by the “invisible diseases” of mental health.
Aside from the obvious need for mental health and psychiatric healthcare professionals, why should you study mental health nursing? Below, we outline the top reasons to study psychiatric nursing today:
- The demand is greater than ever, and so is the earning potential:
Although efforts to combat COVID-19 are progressing, with the vaccines rolling out around the country, this pandemic will have many lasting effects on mental health, long after we have the virus under control. As a result, the demand for qualified mental health professionals is expected to be greater than ever. Mental health experts are anticipating the following mental health issues to be a main concern this year and beyond:
- Burnout and sedentism
- Seep disruption
- Eating disorders
- Drug and alcohol addiction relapses
This is just the beginning. Suicide rates are increasing, and a growing number of young adults are experiencing high rates of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With the increase in these issues, the demand for trained professionals will continue to rise.
The demand is not only limited to the current pandemic. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand will continue to grow long-term. The job outlook for nurse practitioners, for example, is projected to rise 52% over the next 10 years, adding over 110,000 jobs across the U.S. The outlook for Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors is about 25% growth by 2029. To put these figures into perspective, the average growth for all jobs is only four percent.
In addition to a high demand, another reason why one may study mental health nursing is the earning potential. As of May 2019, the median annual wages for advanced practice registered nurses (commonly known as nurse practitioners) in the United States was $109,820 per year.
2. There is great personal reward, to be able to help those in need:
The heroes of this pandemic continue to step up, to save lives, and to help us move forward. Another reason to study psychiatric nursing is because you can continue to help people in need. Mental health care professionals are the ongoing heroes that will continue to help people suffering from the lasting mental effects that this pandemic has—and will continue to—impose. Being a part of the solution to give people hope, tools to cope, and the support they need will leave you feeling fulfilled, because you are making a real difference in somebody’s life. There will need to be a collective shift in our world to prioritize mental health, and mental health professionals will play an integral role in that shift. What is more rewarding than that?
3. Not everyone can do this, but you can!
Working in mental health is not for everyone. It takes a strong, educated, compassionate professional to do the work that Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners do. But if the motivation and the willingness to help others is there, and you have a passion for this field, then this dream is yours to achieve. Fortunately, there are many modern degree programs that make earning your PMHNP more attainable than ever, with online courses and flexibility.
Goodwin’s PMHNP program is offered online for working nurses who wish to advance their degrees. In addition to online course offerings, the program can be completed part-time in as few as seven semesters. You will be required to attend two immersion weekends, and clinical practice, in-person as part of the program—which will give you the practical experience needed to launch a career in this field.
As we continue navigating these uncharted waters, it is hard to know for certain what the future holds. But if you want to be a part of the solution for the many people that are suffering from mental health disorders, then consider enrolling in an PMHNP program today. That is why you should study mental health nursing: the demand, the personal reward, and of course, the achievability. For more information on Goodwin’s PMHNP program, call (800) 889-3282 or visit us online today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.