Mental health nursing is a specialty, it’s a fact

Wyoming has one of the highest rates of suicide in the nation and has for many years. The psychiatric nurse works with life and death issues every day. In working with chronically suicidal patients, nowhere is it truer than if nurses are not prepared to lose the patient, they are not prepared to treat them. Wyoming Behavioral Institute is making available select positions for nurses who want to specialize in mental health.

Mental health nursing is:

  • The study of human behavior
  • Concentration on the psychosocial interventions versus psychologically based care
  • An ability to dare to be different
  • A desire to search for patterns and meaning in seemingly unpredictable and often risky behavior
  • An ability to tolerate and resonate with the pain and vulnerability of those who lead unstable lives in a world that prizes normality, control and balance
  • Valuing the therapeutic interpersonal relationship as a principal means of promoting, maintaining, and restoring health and preventing disease

Myths and facts about mental health nursing


Myth: Mental health nursing is not real nursing.

Fact: Mental health nurses are held accountable to standards of evidence-based practice and measurable outcomes. They must attend not only to the medical and physical issues of a patient but the emotional mental health issues, too.

Myth: All nurses are mental health nurses.

Fact: Psychiatric nursing is a specialty and requires knowledge and experience that is unique to the field. To become a psychiatric nurse is to learn the art of nursing.


Myth: Mental health staff does not do real work. They just talk to people.

Fact: The primary work of the psychiatric nurse is the use of interpersonal skills with less emphasis on the traditional technical skills. The nurse is actively engaged in making comprehensive assessments, doing counseling and teaching, creating and managing a therapeutic and safe environment.

Myth: Staff in mental health just need to tell patients to “stop that behavior and get on with it.”


Fact: Progress in dispelling myths and recognizing mental illness as a serious brain disorder is slow, even among the medical profession.

Myth: Working in psychiatry is easy, no stress, nothing like ICU or ER.

Fact: People die from mental illness. According to the Wyoming Department of Health, Wyoming has a serious suicide problem — confirmed by three decades of statistics that always place our state among those in the nation with the highest per-capita suicide rates. Wyoming is one of the deadliest places in the world in terms of suicide. As a public health issue, however, suicide has much broader implications. It is the second leading cause of death for Wyoming youth, who have a suicide rate twice the national average.


Be a nurse who dares to be different. Come join Wyoming Behavioral Institute. Wyoming Behavioral Institute is a psychiatric hospital in Casper, Wyoming, offering inpatient and outpatient care for children, adolescents and adults. For more information about the benefits of working at Wyoming Behavioral Institute and nursing positions available, visit

If you would like to speak to our WBI team about becoming a Psychiatric Nurse, please contact Tammy Quinn in Human Resources at 307-265-5126.


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