Calling all Outpatient Psych RNs!


Hello AN!

I recently quit my bedside job on a busy medical unit for a new role... I am now an Outpatient Behavioral Health Nurse for a mental health facility. I'll be doing psychosocial assessments on patients with schizophrenia, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, doing pre-authorizations for medications, and ensuring that their insurance is covering their meds. I'll be giving injections of long-acting antipsychotics to schizophrenic patients.

I haven't started yet- but it's a great opportunity and I'm excited to be seeing patients in an outpatient setting. I've always been interested in psych nursing too.

Does anyone have experience in a job in a similar role? What has your experience been like? Any tips or reading material I could review before I start?

Thanks in advance for any advice, I appreciate it! :)


14,633 Posts

The only outpatient psych nursing jobs I've seen over the years have required a significant amount of previous psych nursing experience. Do you have any psych experience? (Doesn't sound like it from your post.) I hope things will go well for you, but I'm kinda surprised that you got hired into this position without any previous psych experience (if that is the case). How much support (more experienced psych nurses around) are you going to have? Often, people in this kinds of positions are expected to be pretty independent and autonomous. Is that the case in your position, and is that something you're comfortable with?


3 Articles; 859 Posts

Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing. Has 30 years experience.

I worked at a place where there was a clinic nurse for an outpatient clinic and it can be a tricky role. To prepare, read a psych nursing textbook to become familiar with some of the diagnoses. Also read up on the depot injections. I think Risperdol consta has to be refrigerated, etc

The PA's can be very time consuming. and things change all the time- it would be good if you have a good person to report to who can show you shortcuts. Or how to be efficient with them.

And the psychosocial assessment?? Who decides who needs one?

It is all doable. You have to be organized and get along with a lot of clinicians and providers.

Hopefully there will be a job description. Best wishes


21 Posts

ElkPark- Yes, I'm very comfortable being independent and autonomous. I'm excited about the opportunity..there are good resources for me at the center (other clinicians) that I can ask questions to as I start out.

Yes, I have some previous psych experience, while not extensive my hiring manager felt it was a good fit (I also have work experience prior to becoming an RN- this is my second career).

Thanks for your supportive comment! :)