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Psychiatric or Mental Health Nursing is a favorite topic among nursing lecturers.  In nursing review centers, the pyschiatric nursing sessions are the most anticipated and the most popular in terms of attendance. Why?  The topics in Pyschiatric Nursing are very interesting, often resulting in very lively discussion between the the lecturer and the reviewees.  And, more often than not, a good percentage of the questions asked in the nursing board exam are on Psychiatric Nursing.

However, candidates need to give particular attention to specific Pyschiatric Nursing topics when reviewing for the nursing board exam this July.  These topics are often labeled as common board questions (CBQ) because they are often asked in the Nurse Licensure Examination.

Below is the list of specific topics on Psychiatric Nursing you need to cover thoroughly for the nursing board exam:

  • Ego Defense Mechanisms, including definitions and examples
  • Therapeutic Communication, with emphasis on the different techniques, description, and examples
  • Structure of Personality- the id, ego, and superego and the principles by which the three operate
  • Freud's Psychosexual Theory of Development, including the tasks need to be accomplished in each of the 5 stages
  • Erik Erikson's Psychosocial Theory of Development
  • Kohlberg's Stages of Moral Development
  • Jean Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development
  • The role of neurotransmitters in Psychiatric Disorders (Dopamine, Acetylcholine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin ,Histamine, GABA)
  • Psychopharmacology, with emphasis on therapeutic levels and nursing considerations when administering Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Anxiolytics, anti-EPS, and drugs prescribed to patients with Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Crisis and Crisis Intervention
  • Anxiety and levels of Anxiety, including nursing interventions that reduce anxiety
  • Anxiety Disorders, and nursing management for patients with these disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression, with emphasis on nursing diagnosis, nursing considerations, and medication regimen
  • Schizophrenia, including the types of Schizophrenia, Bleuler' 4As, positive and negative symptoms, and nursing interventions according to symptom
  • Personality Disorders (Paranoid,Schizoid,Schizotypal, Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Avoidant, Obsessive-Compulsive, Dependent,Narcissistic), including patient's characteristics and nursing considerations when caring for patients with Personality Disorders
  • Alcoholism and Alcohol Withdrawal, including symptoms, effects, nursing management and use of Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Other Substance-related Disorders- focus on the effects and withdrawal symptoms of the use of Opiates, Amphetamines, Hallucinogens,Cocaine.
  • Alzheimers Disease, including stages, 4As (symptoms), medications, nursing considerations, nursing diagnoses
  • Anorexia Nervosa and Bulima Nervosa, with emphasis on signs and symptoms and nursing management
  • Mental Retardation, including the types
  • ADHD
  • Abuse and Violence, including domestic violence, laws covering domestic violence, signs of child abuse
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy, with emphasis on nursing considerations
  • Milieu Therapy, its goals and the nurse's role
  • Sleep Disorders
Furthermore, when reviewing on Pyschiatric Nursing for the nursing board exam, remember that aside from administering psychotropic medications and other forms of therapy and dealing with a client with very challenging symptoms, the role of a nurse is to establish a therapeutic relationship with clients. Thus,  it is also prudent that when preparing for the nursing board exam this July, candidates expect a number of questions that gauges his or her ability to collaborate with a client so that the latter may achieve the goals of therapy.

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