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The Life of a Psychiatric Technician
Psychiatric technician job responsibilities
The exact responsibilities of a psychiatric technician vary based on where they work and the types of patients theyre caring for. Typically, psychiatric technicians perform some of these tasks on a daily basis:
What is a psychiatric technician?
A psychiatric technician works with individuals with developmental disorders, mental illnesses or substance abuse issues. They help take care of the individual by performing a range of tasks, such as administering medication, bathing and playing games. Psychiatric technicians work closely with their patients to ensure theyre as happy, healthy and safe in the treatment facility as possible.
While the role of a psychiatric technician has similarities to that of a psychiatric aide, psychiatric technicians focus more on providing therapeutic care, while aides help more with daily activities. However, some facilities dont employ psychiatric aides, leaving those duties to the technicians. In addition, becoming a psychiatric technician requires more education than a psychiatric aide.
Psychiatric technician work environment
Most psychiatric technicians work in psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals operated either at a state level, local level or run by a private company. Other employers of psychiatric technicians include state governments, residential mental health facilities and general hospitals.
Psychiatric technicians work in both full-time and part-time positions, depending on the facility. Psychiatric technicians spend much of their days on their feet. The hours they work depend on the facility and the type of patients they work with, however, most work during the day. In some cases, the psychiatric technician accompanies their patient on field trips outside the facility.
Average salary and job outlook for a psychiatric technician
Most employers of psychiatric technicians require a certification or an associates degree in mental health or psychiatric technology. You can find these programs at local community colleges and technical schools across the country. These programs teach you about patient counseling, human biology and psychology. Your program may also include supervised work experience, allowing you to gain professional experience before graduating.
In some states, you must pass a licensing exam administered by the state before working as a psychiatric technician. The state may also require you to complete an accredited education program before taking the exam.
You can also pursue a professional certification as a psychiatric technicians. While theyre not required for employment, earning one of these certifications demonstrates professional competency and may help you earn a position.
Psychiatric technician skills
Here are some skills for psychiatric technicians:
Psychiatric technicians need to effectively communicate with their patients. Because they listen closely to their needs and develop a connection with them through conversation, its important to have strong communication skills. Psychiatric technicians also use this ability to communicate clear notes regarding the status of the patient to other medical professionals.
Psychiatric technicians demonstrate compassion towards their patients when understanding the difficult situation theyre in. They have sympathy for their patients and use this when caring for them. The compassion they develop encourages them to provide exceptional care, even on difficult days.
Psychiatric technicians may regularly read to their patients. In addition, they may also receive written instructions from other medical professionals or family members of the patient. Psychiatric technicians use their reading comprehension skills to fully understand the text in front of them.
Attention to detail
Part of a psychiatric technicians responsibilities is to monitor patients and note changes in behavior. This requires great attention to detail, especially when noticing small changes in a patient. Psychiatric technicians also remember small details about their patients to help connect with them, such as personal anecdotes or preferences.
Physical strength and stamina
Psychiatric technicians use their physical stamina to spend many hours on their feet each day. In some situations, they also help lift and move patients, requiring physical strength. Therefore, psychiatric technicians require a good physical condition and the ability to perform physical tasks throughout the day.
The primary responsibility of psychiatric technicians is to help their patients. Psychiatric technicians have a helpful nature and enjoy helping others. Providing assistance to others gives them a sense of purpose and encourages them to provide the best possible care to their patients.
Psychiatric technicians manage not only their own time, but also that of their patients. Using their time management skills, they ensure patients stick to a schedule, such as when to receive treatment or take medications. As their patients rely on them, psychiatric technicians prioritize arriving on time.
Psychiatric technicians teach their patients how to do certain things. They use their teaching skills to provide clear instructions and to help their patients improve their learning abilities. Psychiatric technicians also use this skill to devise new strategies for instruction when a current method doesnt yield positive results.
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