Psychological Clinicals

Psychology is the most popular field in nursing and very rewarding. A psychiatric nurse devotes their time caring for people who suffer from mental illness. They work with individuals, groups, communities and whole families who have psychiatric problems and disorders, such as psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, dementia. Some places one might find a psychiatric registered nurse may be a long-term care facility, health departments, and hospitals.

During clinicals you will learn how to assess the  mental health needs of individuals, develop a nursing care plan, help patients regain and  improve coping skills, manage a therapeutic environment, assist patients with self-care daily activities, administer and monitoring treatment regimens and crisis intervention and counseling. Depending on what type of nursing program you are in (A.S or BSN), depends on what type of assignments you will have to do. Usually a Process Recording or Mental Assessment will be done. These are usually about 7-20 pages long.

Process Recording Requirements

Physical and psychosocial description of patient

Anticipate and Identify Factors that may Influence the Communication Process with this Particular Patient

Objectives and Limitations for Interaction:  Nurse and Patient

Nurse’s Thoughts and Feelings Prior to Interaction and Description of Physical Setting

Applying theory to practice

Critique of Communication Process

Assessment Requirements

Psychiatric history

Medical history

Social history

Family health history

Response to the usual situations in life

Developmental history

Drug History

Potential for harm to self or others

Most of the time you will assigned only one patient per clinical day. Before going to psychiatric clinicals, you should review how to perform a mental status examination. A mental status examination uses your observation and questions to evaluate factors of mental function, including speech, emotional expression, thinking and perception, and cognitive function.

Most of the time, your lecture will coincide with what clinicals you are attending. During class, your professor should be going over drug classifications. By the end of the semester you should be familiar with psychiatric drugs classifications. These will be drugs that will be seen throughout your nursing career. Here is a list of most prescribed medications you will see during psychiatric clinicals and you will probably be quizzed on this in your class.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRIs)

Celexa (citalopram)

Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate)

Luvox (fluvoxamine)

Paxil (paroxetine)

Prozac (fluoxetine)

Zoloft (sertraline)

Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Effexor (venlafaxine)

Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Nardil (phenelzine)

Parnate (tranylcypromine)


Adapin (doxepin)

Anafranil (clomipramine)

Elavil (amitriptyline)

Endep (amitriptyline)

Ludiomil (maprotiline)

Norpramin (desipramine)

Pamelor (nortryptyline)

Pertofrane (desipramine)

Sinequan (doxepin)

Surmontil (trimipramine)

Tofranil (imipramine)

Vivactil (protriptyline)


Buspar (buspirone)

Desyrel (trazodone)

Edronax, Vestra (reboxetine)

Remeron (mirtazapine)

Serzone ( nefazodone)

Wellbutrin (bupropion)

Know these entire drug classes, side effects, adult dosages, and teaching for these medications. When you get to whatever type of psychiatric facility the school sends you to, just take a deep breath and open you mind. Don’t be afraid of what is different from what you are used to seeing on a daily basis. You will come into contact with psychiatric patients in some form or another no matter what field you choose to specialize in.


AllNursingSchools. (2010). Become a Psychiatric Nurse. Retrieved from:

AllPsych Online. (2003). Medication and Drug Guide. Retrieved from:


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