What is a Psychiatric Nurse

A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse who has completed additional graduate- or doctorate-level nursing education. This means they either have a master’s degree or a doctorate in nursing. This allows them to provide similar care as medical doctors. They can see patients, develop treatment plans, and prescribe medications.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) with specialties (like psychiatric nurse practitioners) have additional training and education in the psychiatric and mental health nursing field. Similar to psychiatrists, psychiatric NPs can provide mental health services for individuals, families, and communities.


What is a Psychiatric Nurse

Your appointment will be the same with a psychiatric NP as it would be with a traditional psychiatrist. Psychiatric NPs can diagnose and treat psychiatric, emotional, and behavioral disorders just like psychiatrists can. This includes common mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression, as well as more complex and specialized ones such as bipolar disorder.
Psychiatric nurse practitioners work autonomously and have the same care capabilities as psychiatrists do.

They can:

  • Diagnose and evaluate patient health
  • Facilitate therapy sessions with patients, families, and groups
  • Order diagnostic tests
  • Prescribe and adjust medications
  • Make referrals to additional service providers
  • Evaluate and monitor patients’ overall well-being, adjusting
  • treatment outcomes as needed over time

The Benefits of Seeing a
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Patients tend to run into several issues when seeking out adequate mental health care, including high cost, limited access, and quality concerns. A psychiatric NP can help address these obstacles by treating patients holistically, referring them to supplemental providers when necessary, and providing more accessible care than their counterparts. 

More Options

One of the key benefits of seeing a psychiatric nurse practitioner is
straightforward: they’re another option for care. Finding a mental health care provider you feel comfortable with and who needs your needs is critical, and having more options is always a good thing. This is especially true for patients suffering from limited access to psychiatrists.

Bedside Manner

As a field, nurses are generally empathetic, compassionate, and
caring by nature. Nurses often pride themselves on their bedside manner and their ability to connect with patients. Psychiatric NPs’ education fosters these traits and expands on them. Many patients feel heard with their psychiatric NPs.


Patients may also have an easier time getting an appointment with an NP than with an MD. This is because nurse practitioners tend to be less flooded with clients. Seeing a psychiatric nurse practitioner may give you more flexibility with appointment scheduling. You might also have extended appointment times.

This is especially crucial for mental health treatment, which is often sensitive and complex. With a longer appointment time, your psychiatric nurse practitioner will have more time to listen to your concerns and your needs.

How to Schedule an Appointment with a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?

Contact McLean Counseling Center today at 703-821-1073 to schedule an appointment with one of our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners. You can also read more about all of our providers on our website at www.mcleancounselingcenter.com

Melanie Yousefi, DNPMHNP-BC
Kehinde Oyekan, PMHNP-BC
Atina Sullivan, DNPMHNP-BC
Mary June So, DNPMHNP-BC