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Dr. Ruby Martinez, RN, PhD, CS

Dr. Ruby Martinez, RN, PhD, CS

Dr. Ruby Martinez (left) with a student.

Do you have any general advice regarding how people can be successful in Psychiatric Nursing?

Psychiatric nursing is a growing field. Mental illness is the second largest disability in the USA, second only to cardiovascular conditions. This means that many nurses and other professionals will be needed to care for people with these disorders. My hope is that we move primary care and mental health into the same offices so that people can get comprehensive care, versus chopped up care.

Can you give us an introduction to Psychiatric Nursing education – programs and degrees available. Ranges of length of programs and costs. Admissions requirements…

At the University of Colorado School of Nursing we offer a BS degree in nursing, which allows nurses to practice in psychiatric hospitals and outpatient settings. Nurses who earn the MS in Psychiatric nursing are advanced practice nurses who can study to prescribe medication in addition to their psychotherapist role (counselor). Students may learn more about our requirements by contacting us at:

What’s the pay scale for someone just starting a career in this Psychiatric Nursing?

New graduate nurses, whether they practice in psych or medical nursing earn about $40,000.00 per year.

Are there any important accrediting bodies or professional organizations for Psychiatric Nursing that prospective students should be aware of?

Advanced practice psychiatric nurses can be Board Certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This certification is highly desirable for those nurses who wish to be independent practitioners. The certification is obtained by successfully completing a rigorous four hour exam. The certification is good for 5 years and is maintained by continuing education and advanced level practice, or one can sit for the exam again.

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