A psychiatric nurse practitioner or (PMH-NP) is a trained nurse who provides expert mental care for adult and child patients in a primary health care setting or in outpatient settings. The PMH-NP can carry out a range of duties without the supervision of a doctor. Psychiatric nurse practitioners can diagnose mental conditions of adults and children, conduct therapy, and prescribe medications for their patients. They can diagnose and treat a range of medical conditions like psychiatric disorders, medical mental conditions, substance abuse disorders, learning disorders etc. The PMH-NP can also provide emergency psychiatric care for patients followed by crisis intervention and counseling.


Government Data Released on a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salary


According to government data released in September 2010, the median nurse practitioner salary in the United States was about $87,618 a year. If you add in the other benefits and bonuses, a practitioner can earn as much as $120,000 a year. These benefits and bonuses may consist of healthcare plans such as a 401k at $6,100, and 403b at $3,335. Practitioners that specialize in areas vary in the salary they can receive also. A neonatal nurse salary, for instance, is around $65,000 to $95,000 a year. Psychiatric nurses, on the other hand, get paid around $40,000 to $50,000, but this figure can increase significantly once you’ve gained enough experience and have received the additional training that is necessary. Generally, the Pediatric nurse salary is in the range of $75,000 to $100,000 a year. There can be a wide salary gap just between nurse practitioner specialties simply because of factors like geographical location, years of experience, and additional training and education acquired.

Now even though this is what the government says, there are a ton of benefits and bonuses that a practitioner receives during their career, so if you take into account all of that then a practitioner’s salary be up to $120,000 every year which is awesome. With this paycheck comes a health care plan such as the 401K starting at $6,100 and the 403b which begins at $3,335.

Salary increase as you gain experience throughout the years obviously. For each and every practitioner who specializes in something, there can still be a salary gap just because of the factors like geographical location, how many years you’ve worked, how much experience you’ve gained, and the training and education you achieved. All these factors are taken into account when determining salary, bonuses, benefits, etc.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salary and Location


Your salary varies based on the location you are working as larger cities pay more while smaller locations pay less as seen above. There are about 67% of all nurses that will work in either a hospital or an outpatient facility. Salaries for these facilities are about $38,792 – $44,869. The other 32% of nurses find work in doctor offices and other medical clinics or temporary assignments.

There are now travel positions that require you to travel to various parts of the country, and some even require you to travel internationally.

The salary of a psychiatric nurse varies greatly. There is really no base salary but a fluctuation across the board. The reasoning for this is a varied as the salaries in nursing. The base pay of a psychiatric nurse is determined by many different factors. The first of these factors are the years of experience that the psychiatric nurse brings to the table.

A GN or graduate degree psychiatric nurse will start out at the lowest salary of psychiatric nurse pay. They will remain at this level until they pass their board exam or NCLEX. Upon passing their boards they will receive a small increase in pay anywhere from $2.50 per hour to $5.00 per hour.

The most important factor in this scenario is to keep in mind that if the graduate psychiatric nurse does not successfully pass the board exam, the hospital can terminate their employment or extend to them a grace period in which they have the opportunity to pass the boards a second time. In the past years, it was not unusual for a graduate psychiatric nurse to stay on as a hospital employee for years before finally passing or taking their boards.

This practice is no longer widely accepted. Also, the graduate psychiatric nurse is not allowed to pass any medications until they have their licensure. The question remains, what is the typical base salary for a graduate psychiatric nurse.

It is safe to say that the salary ranges in the low to mid forty thousand dollars per year. This discrepancy of several thousand dollars has much to do with the location of the hospital. For instance, in rural communities where much of the hospital funding comes from the government, the pay rate may be higher or lower than a privately funded institution.

The mitigating factor is how successful the grant writers are at tapping into government funds, and how much private endowment money are bestowed to the hospital. Even with these two factors in place comes the process of dissemination of the funds. This is dependent on how the board of directors sees fit to use the funds. These funds could be put to the construction of a new hospital wing, or to the purchase of new diagnostic equipment.

Factors Affecting the Salary of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner


Whether or not the psychiatric nurses are unionized is also another factor in entry level psychiatric nurse pay. Unions can either work for or against nursing wages. Sometimes non-unionized hospitals pay more.

Shift premiums are also a factor. The top shift premium is paid for the midnight shift. Midnight shift premiums range anywhere from $2.50 per hour to $4.50 per hour. Since most shifts in hospitals are now twelve-hour shifts, midnights start around 7:30 p.m. and end around 7:30 a.m. These are attractive hours for many psychiatric nurses since they get four days off during a week and are still considered full-time at thirty-six hours per week. Health benefits including dental and optical are included in the total package and begin anywhere from one week after hiring up to ninety days.

The area of the hospital that the psychiatric nurse will work in is also a factor in pay. For instance, those psychiatric nurses that are trained for specialty care areas such as intensive care units (I.C.U.), the operating room, recovery room, or in the cardiac care facility will get paid an extra premium upon completion of their training in the hospital.

Different areas of the United States have been known to differ in psychiatric nurse pay scales according to the cost of living and population densities.

In the final analysis, the following factors are involved in determining the salary of an entry level psychiatric nurse; a) their years of experience in patient care, b) the shift they will be working, c) the hospitals location, either rural or metropolitan, d) whether or not the nurses are unionized, e) the population density and per-capita income of the residents in the hospitals region, f) the area of specialty the nurse will work in, such as I.C.U., C.C.U, etc., g) successful completion of licensing boards. h) whether or not to accept a benefit package or keep extra dollars per hour and opt not to take the benefit package, i) whether the hospital is government or privately funded.

The salary for a psychiatric nurse is about $35,000-$40,000 as entry level. Advanced practice psychiatric nurses can earn $60,000 or more. Nurse executives or nurses in administrative positions can earn $100,000 or more. The pay scale depends on several factors including, the level of education, years of experience, the size of the facility and geographic location.

Bureau of Labor Statistics about a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salary


In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the official salary information for the nursing profession. While these numbers represent the entire nursing profession, the salaries of psychiatric nurses most likely resemble these closely. For the entire nursing profession, the lowest average salary came in at $44,190, whereas the highest average salary was over $95,000. Your salary as a psychiatric nurse will largely depend on your academic credentials and the region in which you work. The type of medical institution you work in will also determine how high your salary is as a psychiatric nurse.

The minimum requirements for being a psychiatric nurse practitioner include a valid registered nurse (RN) license and a bachelor’s degree in nursing. In addition, most psychiatric nurse practitioner programs will not accept applicants who have less than one year of experience as an RN in a psychiatric intensive care unit. Psychiatric nurse practitioner programs include two or more years of additional study with coursework in advanced assessment, pharmacology, pathophysiology, and clinical hours with a preceptor. After graduating from an approved psychiatric nurse practitioner program, candidates can sit for the psychiatric nurse practitioner licensure exam and obtain a license to practice as an advanced nurse.

Average Beginning Salary of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner


A typical salary for a psychiatric nurse is dependent on the area of the country one is practicing in. However, an average beginning salary for an entry-level psychiatric nurse can range from $30,000 to close to $50,000 a year. The salary can rise depending on the amount of experience the nurse has. A psychiatric nurse practitioner can make an average of $80,000 a year. Research indicates that the need for psychiatric nurses is expected to increase in the next decade, in part due to the changing technology allowing more severely ill or premature babies to survive the psychiatric period.

The salary range for a psychiatric nurse falls between $30,000 to $40,000 a year. There are several factors that affect salary level. One of those factors is education. A psychiatric nurse with a bachelor of science in nursing degree may earn more than a nurse with an associate’s degree.

Experience is another factor that helps determine psychiatric nurse salary. A nurse who has been working in a NICU for ten years will likely make a higher psychiatric nurse salary than someone who has worked there just five years. A knowledgeable, experienced psychiatric nurse is a valuable asset for a hospital. Psychiatric Nurse Salary by State

Registered and Unregistered Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Salaries


Usually, a registered nurse earns on an average at least $66, 530 per year. However, those who specialize in other areas such as trauma, transport, critical care, hospice, radiology, home health care and so forth will generally receive much more depending on their skills, qualifications, years of experience as well as the training they received throughout the years. Furthermore, nurses have a lot of career diversity and have a lot of avenues to grow with thus giving more chance to earn a better salary in return. Furthermore, there are even some areas in the United States wherein there are in need of more nurses but such needs exceed the applicants for the position. However, different states have different salary levels as well. Therefore, those working and living in big and progressive cities will generally receive higher salaries than those living and working is a small town. Furthermore, those working in big hospitals will generally receive more than those working in small clinics or nursing homes.


The psychiatric nurse has to bear in mind the following fundamental things or beliefs before taking the responsibility of providing nursing assistance to a patient challenged by some sort of a mental disorder.

  1. The primary objective of the psychiatric nurse should always be the well-being of the patient and not just the cure for the disease or temporary relief. In other words, the nurse should ensure that the patient, suffering from mental disorders, should transform himself or herself to a normal person capable of independently leading his or her own life outside of the hospital atmosphere.
  1. The responsibility of a psychiatric nurse is slightly different from that of other registered nurses. The nurse should view the patient as a person having a set of beliefs, customs, practices, strengths and unique qualities, and not just concentrate on the illness of disease.
  1. The nurse should extend assistance to a mental illness patient only when the patient is unable to meet the need by himself or herself. In other words, the nurse should come to picture only when the patient finds difficulty or could not perform his or her own normal routine duties.
  1. Another important point every psychiatric nurse should bear in mind is that the patient is only responsible for his or her own feelings, actions as well as thoughts, and no other third person can influence the feelings of the patient. It is true that the thought process might have been affected by the disorder, but the patient is only responsible for the feelings, thoughts, and/or actions.
  1. The psychiatric nurse should know that the patient being treated is a human being and not just a toy for administering treatment for the disease. The patient should be involved in the treatment process and without the active co-operation and better relationship between the patient and the nurse, the disease cannot be cured in its entirety.
  1. The psychiatric nurse will be concentrating more on the emotional problems of a patient than other forms of the disease that affect the body alone. For a better emotional state of mind, the patient needs to cease his or her dependence on chemical components such as tobacco, caffeine, and such other things. The nurse should lay more emphasis during treatment in achieving a better emotional health in addition to physical health because a right balance between the emotional health and the physical health is essential for a person to have a better quality life, free from mental disorders.

The above-mentioned are some of the fundamental aspects that a psychiatric nurse should always bear in mind while interacting with a patient suffering from mental disorders.

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