Salary: $31.75-$38.76 hourly / $5,523-$6,742 monthly / Range:
DEFINITION: Under direction, provides professional psychiatric
nursing care to acutely and chronically ill patients and assists the
Psychiatric Nursing Supervisor in providing direction and training
to staff; performs related duties as required.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: This is a lead class and is
distinguished from Psychiatric Nurse II in that the major functions
of the Senior class involve assisting the Psychiatric Nursing
Supervisor in planning and organizing training for nursing staff,
evaluating clinic activities, and acting in the supervisor's
This class is distinguished from Staff Nurse, Senior by the
specialization in psychiatric nursing.
EXAMPLES OF DUTIES:
1. Assists in the interviewing and evaluation of prospective nurses
and technicians; conducts new employee training, orients them to
departmental policies and procedures and mental health laws and
regulations, and completes a daily checklist for each completed
training activity; analyzes and evaluates the need for staff
training, such as training in managing patients' assaultive
behavior; evaluates staff assignments and staff-patient interaction
in order to reduce stress levels; counsels staff in specialized
areas in order to improve the level of care; develops improved
charting methods; arranges for and provides continuing education
required for proper licensure of nursing staff.
2. Makes recommendations regarding changes to nursing services and
clinic activities; develops and implements policies and procedures
related to area of specialization, such as infectious disease
control; maintains and writes updates to the department policy and
3. Observes assigned patients on a daily basis to identify,
interpret, and document physical and emotional status and/or
patterns, such as assaultive or suicidal behavior and response to
treatment or medication; as part of multi-disciplinary team, assists
in formulating a diagnosis and developing and implementing
individualized patient treatment plans based on observations;
provides crisis intervention to those individuals experiencing acute
4. Participates in or leads individual or group counseling sessions,
family conferences, and recreational and social therapy sessions to
assist patients in understanding the nature of emotional and
physical problems, to accept the need for treatment, and to address
issues such as communicable disease and family planning.
5. Administers psychotropic medications to patients, monitors use,
and documents reactions; instructs patients on the purpose, dosage
and side effects of medication, and explains the legal process
related to the patient's refusal to take prescribed medication.
6. Acts as a team leader, on a rotational basis, for assigned shift;
plans, assigns, and reviews the work of other regular nursing staff,
student nurses, and mental health technicians.
7. Participates in departmental and team meetings to discuss patient
care and progress, shift activity, and program policies and
procedures; may act as a lead in an area of specialization, such as
infectious disease control; attends regular committee meetings in
order to keep abreast of current issues, trends, and procedures, and
informs and educates staff.
8. Obtains medical, psychiatric, social and family histories of new
admissions; takes and records vital signs; obtains lab specimens;
assists physicians with exams; schedules and arranges for special
tests; develops discharge plans; maintains charts and logs; monitors
supplies; performs catheterizations and enemas; and draws blood.
9. Aids patients in obtaining proper medical care, after release or
during hospitalization, by identifying community agencies and
resources to assist patients with stabilization while living in the
community; interacts with staff from private medical facilities,
courts, and county and State agencies to express concerns of the
patient and to discuss treatment; testifies in court as to the
patient's mental and physical condition.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS: Possession of a valid Registered Nurse license
issued by the California State Board of Registered Nursing; and,
1. two years of nursing experience in an acute care psychiatric or
outpatient community mental health facility or,
2. equivalent combination of training, education or experience that
would provide the required knowledge, abilities and license.
Knowledge of: the laws and regulations pertaining to psychiatric
nursing; the various methods, techniques, and procedures used in
psychiatric nursing; the uses and effects of psychotropic drugs and
narcotics; patient safety practices and facility security; theories,
principles, and techniques of group and individual psychotherapy;
symptoms and behavior patterns of emotionally disturbed and mentally
ill patients; mental health community resources and services; the
principles, practices, and laws of professional nursing; health
education and interviewing and counseling techniques; common
illnesses, diseases, disabilities, injuries, and nutrition; medical
equipment operation; supervisory practices.
Ability to: plan, organize, and evaluate the work of nursing and
support staff, and facility activities; identify and make
recommendations regarding operational problems; develop and conduct
staff training; explain mental health laws and regulations; observe
emotional and physical behavior; evaluate and assess the need for
mental health services; analyze a situation and adopt a course of
action; prepare and maintain medical records and reports; recognize
and respect limits of confidential information; communicate with
people of diverse socioeconomic and ethnic origins; speak before
groups; exercise independent judgement in medical emergencies;
demonstrate tact, diplomacy, patience and compassion; establish and
maintain working relationships with subordinate staff, co-workers,
other agencies, and organizations; comply with and enforce nursing
policies, protocols, and program regulations; understand and follow
instructions, work independently.
WORKING CONDITIONS: Incumbents work in a locked facility with
patients who can be a danger to themselves and others. Incumbents
must be able to restrain patients in crisis and other situations,
and work shifts.