What Is The Difference Between Mental Health Nursing And General Nursing

What Is The Difference Between Mental Health Nursing And General Nursing

Significant differences hail between the general nursing and the mental health nursing sector. While mental health nursing is a branch of nursing that requires an extra bit of training. In order to work at a  mental health facility center, you will need better communication and coordination skills.

However, the scenario is quite different when talking about general nursing. Having basic nursing training, itself makes you eligible for the role of a general nurse. They mostly deal with physical ailments. 

In the following article, I will be drawing an elucidated comparison between mental health nursing and general nursing- with respect to the workplace, training procedures, and job role. 

Mental Health V/S General Nursing

Before getting to the differentiation part, it is important to gain some knowledge about these two sectors of nursing. Therefore, read the following section with utmost concentration. Who knows, it might just help you build a career on any one of them.

Mental Health Nursing And The Role Of The  Professionals

Mental Health Nursing

Mental health nursing, also referred to as ‘psychiatric nursing’, is a specialized field of nursing, that involves caring for the individuals suffering from mental health disorders and helping them to recover & improve the quality of their lives.

Mental health nurses are equipped with advanced knowledge, with respect to the diagnosis, assessment, & treatment of several psychiatric disorders. They are assigned to these patients so that they get specialized care. 

They are known to work alongside other healthcare professionals in a medical team, that aims to provide optimal clinical outcomes, to its patients. Mental illnesses can and tend to affect individuals belonging to any ethnicity, age, or socio-economic status. 

This is the reason why mental health nurses, need to work with individuals belonging to different backgrounds. While the roles of a mental health nurse would be :

  • Developing a treatment care plan.
  • Assessing and evaluating the mental health of the patients. 
  • Maintaining the medical records of the patients.
  • Providing the provision of care and psychotherapy treatment.
  • Consulting other health professionals with respect to creating an elucidated treatment plan.
  • Supporting and educating the patients and their families.
  • To carry on these roles and responsibilities you need to have some specific qualities:
  • Having a compassionate, non-judgmental, and empathetic attitude.
  • The professional should be genuinely interested in mental illness & behavioral disorders.
  • Attention to details.
  • The professionals should have exceptional communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. 
  • The professional should be emotionally stable, along with strong self-awareness.

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General Nursing And The Role Of The Professionals

General Nursing

Individuals working in the general nursing sector, tend to play a crucial role in the healthcare system. It is their characteristics that serve as the reasons revealing the professionalism and facilities. They are trained to take care of individuals suffering from physical ailments. 

Patients depend on nurses for any kind of assistance or care, when in sickness. Therefore, having an ethical nursing staff as a  part of your hospital, will definitely highlight professionalism. 

Here are some of the characteristics that individuals need to have, in general nursing:

  • The professionals need to have a caring attitude, since, taking care of patients is no joke. You will have to provide sensitive care amidst a the hectic schedule.
  • As a nurse you will have to have an authentic attitude toward your patients.
  • As a nursing staff you need to have good listening skills. Sick people often want someone to lend them a non-judgemental ear.  
  • You cannot work as a general nurse without the correct amount of persistence. You should be capable to work in all sorts of conditions.  
  • As  a nurse it is your responsibility to make a positive environment, both for the colleagues and their patients.
  • You should be ready to follow instructions.
  • Coming up with creative solutions to the problems of your patients is something that every nurse brings up with herself.

Differentiating Mental Health Nursing From General Nursing 

Can a mental health nurse work as a general nurse? Yes, they can. Because mental health nursing is a specialized program. 

1. Indivuiduals pursuing mental health nursing work, usaully work in therapy clinics along with psychiatrists & psychologists.1. Individuals pursuing general nursing work at different units of the hospital, for eg: cardiac unit, maternity unit, cancer unit, etc, along side other medical professionals.
2. Individuals working as a mental health nursing staff, are trained to diagnose and care for patients suffering from mental health disorders. 2. Whereas, general nursing staffs are trained to care for the patients who are suffering from physical ailments. 
3. The mental health disorders that the staffs deal with are, anxiety disorders, depression, sleep paralysis. etc.3. The general nursing professionals deal with physical disorders, namely, pregnancy, cough & cold, cancer, diarrhea, dibetes, etc.
4. Their roles are limited to prescribing medication and treatment to their patients. 4.Their roles include assisting surgeons in important surgeries and helping the patients to recover.


With that being said, I will now end this discussion, with the hope that the above information will be of some help to you. In case, you have got some extra pints to add to this list be a  guest in our comments section below. 

We’d love to hear back from you.

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