I think the poster is asking "how does psych nursing as a career affect a psych nurse's mental health?" or does it?
I really believe, in answering this question, that it depends upon the nurse and how much exposure he/she has been through (before and during this career), the nurse's own coping mechanisms towards stress and exposure, current support systems, and the presence/status of current mental/emotional problems the nurse may have on board himself/herself.
Nursing as a field can be high burnout, depending upon the above factors just listed. Many nurses walk into psych with their own psych issues...some unresolved, some working on, some in denial, and maybe a pleasant few, not having any all. But, the field does tend to attract and gravitate folks towards it. Why?...because of their issues and/or past exposure, possibly in one's own family. In this sense, we are like CD counselors in a way...often they are ex-CD patients themselves or had family issues in CD issues. CD=chemical dependency, as an FYI.
I was a psych nurse for 10 years. I was a CNS. I left the field when I developed PTSD with resultant depression. I chose to leave the field because I felt it was the right thing to do and I needed a change. I burned out due to lots of stress in my life which I didn't have much control over and overwhelmed me at the time. Will I go back to psych? Maybe another 10 years from now...but, what's the rush? I was good at what I did then in my career as a psych nurse, until the illness struck, and I know it, as well as my peers then. I still use my knowledge base as a psych nurse on my med surg floor, but in a different way. I can usually deal with difficult patients that other nurses have difficulty handling. When a schizophrenic patient or a bipolar patient or borderline patient comes on our floor (for surgery), I can work with the patient...where other nurses may feel intimidated by the mental health illness. So, in a way, my psych career sort of headed in a different direction in a way. In a small way, I never left. My career just changed a little.
I'm been med free, doc free, and counselor free for the past two and one half years. The nature of my stressors are no way near the same as they were which set off my illness then. Do I talk about my illness much? The answer is no. Still alot of stigma attached...even amongst mental health professionals. I can't tell you how many nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists that I've met during my 10 year stint that have their own mental health issues but keep it under the rug, even from each other. This is sort of sad, in a way. Often, the ones for help in most need don't get it or get it soon enough.
I hope this answers your question.