What Temperament Do You Need To Be A Psychiatric Nurse?

What Temperament Do You Need To Be A Psychiatric Nurse?If you are wondering what temperament you need to be a psychiatric nurse, I’m here to give you the inside story on this career.

One of the biggest challenges that society faces is mental health. While the phrase ‘see a therapist’ has become common today, the more severe mental illnesses are addressed by psychiatrists. 

In such a context, the role of psychiatric nursing cannot be overstated. According to Zippia, there are over 37,974 psychiatric nurses in the U.S. 

Unfortunately, this number is far lower than what it needs to be. Many places have started trying to attract more people to become psychiatric nurses. States like Colorado have even offered a $14,000 sign-on bonus to new mental health nurses. 

Numerous factors contribute to the lack of psychiatric nurses in the country. These include the pay scale, opportunity for growth, and the overall stressful nature of the field. However, an often overlooked aspect is the temperament needed to be successful in this field. 

So let’s dig deeper into the aspect of temperament in this article.

Oh – and I’m sharing this article because I’m a bestselling personal development author with about 2 million books sold globally.

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I love sharing insights and strategies to empower people to be more confident and successful in their work.

A Unique Combination of Empathy and Resilience

As a psychiatric nurse, these two core skills will play a crucial role in providing effective care to patients. These skills allow you to understand what they are going through while having the strength to not become overwhelmed yourself is critical.

With empathy, you can create a trusting therapeutic relationship with patients, many of whom have high walls. You are also able to better assess their emotional needs. Empathy allows you to recognize subtle cues, non-verbal communication, and underlying emotions.

At the same time, you also need to be resilient. Psychiatric nursing can be emotionally taxing, and you are exposed to a lot of suffering every day. You need a certain degree of toughness to maintain your emotional well-being and cope with the stress. 

This resilience allows you to remain composed and focused on providing quality care, even during the most chaotic moments.

Excellent Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills also play a vital role in psychiatric nursing. They directly influence the quality of care you provide. 

These skills include: 

  • Reflective listening
  • Non-verbal empathy
  • Conflict resolution
  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Collaborative care skills

As a psychiatric nurse, you need to convey information clearly, both verbally and non-verbally. If you feel like you are lacking in any of these skills, seriously consider working on them. Typically, most online psychiatric NP master’s programs have modules dedicated to teaching such skills.  

Marymount University states that completing such programs helps budding psychiatric nurses develop better communication strategies with patients and families. It also teaches them to operate from a holistic and compassionate foundation. 

Remember, conflicts can happen at any time, and not it’s not always between patients. The stress of the job can get to your colleagues as well, and it isn’t uncommon to see people get short-tempered from time to time. You need to be skilled in de-escalation, problem-solving, and knowing how to negotiate during times of crisis. 

Psychiatric nurses often work in teams and collaborate with other professionals. This means that teamwork, active participation, and initiativeness will all be expected of you. It’s safe to say that this is not the most suitable field if you are particularly shy and timid. 


Each patient represents a unique set of challenges and needs. Like any other position in the healthcare industry, your professional obligation will be to stay updated on advancements in the field. You should be willing, and open to learning new techniques and practices as, and when they become relevant. 

Adaptability also factors in with regard to crisis management. Psychiatric nurses often encounter situations where immediate intervention is required. These situations can be unpredictable and emotionally intense. During such moments, you need to think quickly on your feet and respond in a way that ensures safety for the patient and for yourself.

On a broader scale, the healthcare system is always undergoing change. From policy reforms to technological advancements, you should be able to adapt to smoothly adapt to changes. 

This could be something as mundane as implementing new documentation systems or as drastic as administering a revolutionary new treatment method. 


Every profession has its challenges. The struggle of finding ways to adapt and overcome them is simply a part of the process. When it comes to the field of psychiatric nursing, there are numerous resources available to people today. 

Books such as “The Psychiatric Interview in Clinical Practice” by Roger A. Mackinnon and Robert Michels can be illuminating to those curious about what the career is like. 

The more effort you put into preparing yourself for this field, the easier you will find yourself adjusting to its demands. Try to reach out to nurses already in the field and have a conversation with them. You might find information that can help you make your career decisions more confidently. 

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