Rhetorically, I consider...
Why it is that in the six or so psychiatric hospitals I have investigated during clinicals, "shadowing," facility tours, etc., RN psyche nurses primarily handle the brunt of the paperwork and very little else? This is paperwork that in many hospitals typically is completed by competent desk clerks in medical hospitals. The RN ends up spending a majority of her day working on voluminous admission and discharge paperwork, transferring physician orders to numerous charts and forms, perhaps doing a body search or two, writing up incident reports, and performing the most basic-of-basic physical assessments as dictated by the many (noncomprehensive) assessment forms. A registered nurse by definition is a licensed medical (including the biological/neuropsychological component) professional, is she/he not?
Meanwhile, the LPN is designated to pass the meds, the CNA handles patient-care needs (ADL assistance if required, etc.), the mental health worker does all the group therapy and 1-on-1s, the social worker deals with coordination of care (case management), the psychiatrist diagnoses and prescribes appropriate psychotropic medications, and the medical physician gives the clients a good "once-over."
Perhaps it's only in this geographical area, but for RNs who truly have a heart for and skill in caring for psychiatric patients and an excellent psychiatric knowledge base it would seem that there really is no incentive to pursue a career in psychiatric nursing at all. After all, one may effectively practice psychiatric nursing while practicing physiological nursing in virtually any nursing discipline. For example, a client in CCU and his family who have just been informed that the numerous metastisized tumors are inoperable and his once far-off "end" now is visible on the all-to-near horizon.
Why is it, I wonder, that this is the case in any psychiatric hospital---that RNs who have such invaluable service to offer those in these psychiatric populations so infrequently are given the opportunity to do so.