What Does Psychiatric Travel Nurse Do?

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  • Written By: Laura M. Sands
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2019
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A psychiatric travel nurse provides quality mental health care to patients receiving psychiatric treatment in hospitals and clinics on a temporary basis. In particular, a psychiatric travel nurse is dispatched to various locations where her or his services are needed. These specialty nurses may also provide home health care to patients who are being treated on an outpatient basis. The precise duties of a psychiatric travel nurse may vary. At a minimum, however, travel nurses dispatch prescribed medications, chart a patient’s progress and carry out nursing orders initiated by a patient’s physician.

Trained to support psychiatrists in treating a variety of mental disorders, a psychiatric travel nurse is also able to identify possible mental irregularities in patients. Psychiatric nurses work with a patient’s doctors and other specialists to develop treatment plans in an effort to cure a patient of mental illness or, when this is not possible, to help patients enjoy a better quality of life despite mental illness. A psychiatric travel nurse differs from an ordinary psychiatric nurse, however, in that she or he is temporarily contracted to work in different locations for set periods of time.


Some who work in this medical specialty also provide home health visits to patients who live at home or in a residential setting and receive in-home psychiatry services such as psychotherapy and monitoring. In this capacity, a psychiatric travel nurse provides the same level of care as one would in a hospital or clinic. Duties provided through in-home services may include monitoring a patient’s vital signs, administering prescribed psychiatric medication, assuring that the home environment is safe for the patient, documenting a patient’s progress, and communicating with social workers and doctors about a patient’s response to a current treatment plan.

In traveling to different locations for work, a psychiatric travel nurse is also exposed to different environments and cultures, which is a welcome opportunity for many. Nurses who travel are also able to learn different procedures and systems used in different clinical settings, which may enhance their overall career experience. A psychiatric travel nurse may work in a new setting for one or two months before being contracted for another location, but many serve in a position several months or a full year before traveling to a new work destination. Individuals who are the most successful in this career are those who work well with others, embrace diversity and who are able to easily adjust to new environments.


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