Healthcare Career Spotlight: Psychiatric Aides

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Depending on the policies and customs of the specific facility, psychiatric aides are also known by a variety of other formal titles such as psychiatric nursing assistants, behavioral health aides, psychiatric nurse aides, mental health technicians and psychiatric orderlies. A psychiatric aide’s role involves providing assistance to patients with mental or behavioral health issues under the direct supervision of licensed nursing staff and/or physicians.

A psychiatric aide performs a wide assortment of workplace duties that may include provision of assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), facilitation of therapeutic group activities, responding to behavioral outbursts and/or catastrophic reactions, and transporting patients to and from examinations and treatments via wheelchair or stretcher. On occasion, psychiatric aides might restrain combative patients.

Psychiatric aides also conduct physical safety checks, measure and record vital signs, observe patients for harmful behavior, report changes in condition to nursing staff, serve meals as needed, participate in the admissions and discharge processes, obtain finger stick blood glucose readings on diabetic patients, disinfect rooms, maintain cleanliness of shared patient quarters, and provide emotional support to patients.

Psychiatric aides need to possess outstanding communication skills due to their very frequent encounters with patients, visitors, nurses, physicians, counselors and other members of the multidisciplinary care team. In addition, psychiatric aides should have a nonjudgmental demeanor and the ability to remain calm in the presence of stressful situations and/or combative patients. Psychiatric aides must also be able to manage multiple tasks at once in busy environments.

To become a psychiatric aide, an interested candidate usually needs a minimum of a high school diploma or GED before completing on-the-job training to prepare for the workplace role. In many instances, certification as a nursing assistant (CNA) is desired or preferred for many psychiatric aide job positions. Psychiatric aides typically work at freestanding psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric wards contained within general acute care hospitals, and chemical dependency centers.

Are you interested in this healthcare career? Call Legacy Healthcare Careers at (682)626-5266 for healthcare career training in the DFW area of Texas.

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