How to Become a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant (PNA)

The psychiatric nursing assistant role is a vital one within the mental health care team. Psychiatric nursing assistants (PNAs), also known as psychiatric aides, work alongside registered nurses and other health care professionals to provide care and support to people with mental illness.

PNAs provide hands-on care to patients, assisting with their personal needs and helping to create a therapeutic environment. If you are interested in becoming a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant, this article will provide you with all the information you need to get started.

What Does a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant Do?

The main role of a psychiatric nursing assistant is to provide direct care to patients with mental illness. This care may include:

  • Assisting with personal care tasks such as bathing, dressing, and eating
  • Helping patients to move around safely
  • Providing emotional support to patients
  • Helping patients to access activities and therapies
  • Observing and reporting on patients’ condition

What Are The Requirements to Become a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant?

The first step to becoming a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant typically involves becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant, or CNA. CNAs are required to complete a state accredited program, which typically lasts for around 6-12 weeks. The program involves both classroom hours as well as clinical hours. The amount of hours you are required to complete in your program vary by state.

Once you have completed the CNA program, you must pass the CNA exam and register with your state’s nurse aide registry.

Once you become a CNA you are legally eligible to practice as a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant. There are no additional state or national education or certification requirements to practice as a PNA. However, your employer may require additional coursework as a part of onboarding or require that you have experience in working with patients with mental illness.

What Are The Job Prospects for Psychiatric Nursing Assistants?

The job outlook for psychiatric nursing assistants is positive, with a projected growth rate of 16% between 2018 and 2028. This is much faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. The increase in demand for psychiatric aides is due to the increasing prevalence of mental illness and the need for more mental health care services.

If you are interested in becoming a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant, there are many opportunities available to you. With the right education and training, you can start making a difference in the lives of those with mental illness.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant?

Good psychiatric nursing assistants must have a caring and compassionate nature, as well as the ability to handle challenging behavior. Patience, good communication skills, and the ability to work well under pressure are also essential.

What is the salary of a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant?

The average salary for a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant is $31,290 per year. However, salaries can vary depending on experience, location, and other factors.

Where can a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant work?

Psychiatric nursing assistants can work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Hospitals
  • Mental health clinics
  • Residential treatment facilities
  • Group homes
  • Nursing homes
  • Private homes

Each setting will have different job duties and responsibilities, so it is important to choose a setting that aligns with your interests and skills.

What are the benefits of becoming a Psychiatric Nursing Assistant?

Working as a psychiatric nursing assistant can be a very rewarding experience. You will have the opportunity to directly help patients with mental illness, and make a positive difference in their lives. Additionally, you will gain valuable experience working in the mental health field, which can be beneficial if you decide to pursue a career as a registered nurse or other mental health professional.

If you are interested in becoming a psychiatric nursing assistant, we have assembled a list of providers who can help with getting started in your journey in becoming a PNA.