What You Need to Know About Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and Psychiatrists

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner vs. Psychiatrist
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner vs. Psychiatrist

Psychiatric nurse practitioners (NPs) and psychiatrists are medical doctors trained to provide mental health care. But because they work in different specializations, many people might not know much about them. Here’s what you need to know about psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychiatrists. Both NP and psychiatrist have the same goal: To help people who have mental health problems live happier, more fulfilling lives. However, they may practice in slightly different ways. How can you tell the good from the bad? Read on to learn more. You’ve probably heard that psychiatry is a “hysteria in search of patients.” That’s because most psychiatrists don’t just treat adults with serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia or depression — they also help people with those conditions get better every day. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the brain. As such, it is fairly common for other doctors to refer to them as “medic” or “doctor” when speaking about them directly. In fact, some general phrases that can be used to describe a psychiatrist are:

A psychiatrist can look at your brain.

A typical visit to a psychiatrist might consist of the doctor taking a look at your brain with an MRI or Polaroid photographs, as well as a ton of other tests and exams. Thankfully, these types of exams are fairly cheap and easy to do. To get a general idea of what a psychiatrist might see, imagine the EKG of the brain.

A psychiatrist doesn’t just treat adults — they help people with mental illnesses live happier, more fulfilling lives

One of the best things about working as a nurse practitioner (NP) or a psychiatric nurse practitioner (NPP) is getting the opportunity to help people who are experiencing mental health problems. Many people who are experiencing moderate to severe mental health problems are also children, but because kids are less likely to understand why they’re doing well or what they need, they often don’t ask for help. That’s why working as a NNP or NPP is so important — you get to help people feel confident enough to ask for help, so they can feel better on their own.

A psychiatrist is great at history- Taking and examining the patient’s medical records as well as their psychiatric history

Unlike many other medical specialties, psychiatrists don’t just treat patients — they help people understand themselves better. By examining your medical records and talking to your doctor about your mental health problems, a psychiatrist can get a better understanding of what’s going on inside you. In fact, a good number of medical tests are similar or related to mental health problems. For example, an eye exam may also include a brain exam to help the doctor identify any issues with your eyesight.

A psychiatrist might be right for you — but it all depends on how you answer a few questions

Before you meet with a psychiatrist, you’ll probably have a ton of questions. Luckily, there are a few ways you can find out if a doctor is the right person for you.

Ask yourself these questions before seeing a psychiatrist

First, decide what kind of questions you want to ask — and be prepared for them. Some questions to consider: How often do you think about death? Have you ever considered dieing? Have you ever thought about hurting yourself? If so, why? Why did you think about hurting yourself? Have you ever tried to stop an act that you knew would hurt others? If yes, how long did it take to stop? How do you feel now? These questions will help you get a good understanding of whether or not the doctor is the right person for you.

A psychiatrist might not be right for you – but there are other options

If you’re not happy with the psychiatric care you’re receiving, there are a few ways to go. Luckily, there are lots of options outside of a psychiatrist’s office.

Get expert help: goes beyond what a psychiatrist can do

If you’re having a hard time with your treatment — or if you think you need more support — call your doctor’s office or schedule an appointment with a mental health professional.

Don’t try to self-treat: there’s no such thing as a “cure” for mental illness

While there are medications and therapy that can help with symptoms, self-medicating is not one of them. While some people think that just taking a pill and hoping for the best is a solution, it’s not a good idea. You should always get help when you need it, and medication is no different. It will only do you good if you take you medication as prescribed, and it could become harmful if you don’t take it at all.


As you can see, working as a psychiatric nurse practitioner or a psychiatrist isn’t an easy task. Thankfully, there are a lot of positive things about being a psychiatrist — including the fact that they help people with mental illnesses live happier, more fulfilling lives. If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner or a psychiatrist, you should check out our hiring process for jobs in that field. If you get in, be ready to put your best foot forward and show your skills as a doc.

Noah Chapman
Hello, Im Noah Chapman. Im Editor And SEO analysis for Cambridgehack.com. Im a man with 3 beautiful angels towards me. That my beautiful wife, and two beautiful daughters.