What does a Psychiatric Technician do?
A psychiatric technician is employed at various health care settings, psychiatric hospitals, and residential mental health facilities caring for patient's who are suffering from mental illness and/or developmental disabilities as part of a medical team working under a physician's direction.
Psychiatric techs monitor their patient's health status and offer therapeutic care. In the case of a psychiatric aide, he or she works to ensure the clean environments for their patients, help in their everyday activities, and make sure they are safe in the psychiatric hospitals or other health care settings or facilities.
How to become a Psychiatric Technician
A postsecondary education with a certificate or associate's degree in psychiatric or mental health technology would normally be expected for a psychiatric technician. Community colleges and technical schools provide studies in counseling, biology, and psychology. The program sometimes includes work experience that is supervised or a cooperative program to assist the student in securing academic credit for structured work experience.
An employer of a psychiatric technician usually wants the applicant to have clinical work experience like a licensed practical nurse or nursing assistant. A psychiatric aide would require a minimum of a high school diploma in most cases, as well as supervised on the job training. Both a psychiatric technician and psychiatric aide may need to attend lectures or workshops in addition to the supervised training.
Job Description of a Psychiatric Technician
A psychiatric technician typically works with the severely developmentally disabled that require intensive care that includes recording a patient's condition, watching their behavior, and listening to them. They might work with alcohol and drug addicts that are in the process of rehabilitation.
Depending on the type of patient they are involved with, he or she may help with therapeutic and recreational activities. A doctor or medical professional may give instructions to administer medication, as well as take vital signs of the patient.
They help with admissions and with discharge from the hospital or facility. A psychiatric technician may need to use restraint with some patient's that may become agitated or violent.
A psychiatric aide also works with the severely developmentally challenged and helps monitor a patient. They assist with the necessities of a patient, like bathing and dressing them or helping them to eat. He or she does the job of changing bed linens and keeping the facilities clean and the environment safe.
A psychiatric aide goes on field trips, plays games or sports or other activities that engages the patient. They assist in transporting patient's within the care facility or hospital and may be called to assist in the restraint of a violent patient.
Both a psychiatric technician and aide are employed working with a medical team of physicians, psychologists, psychiatric nurses or social workers, counsellors, and therapists. The psychiatric technician and aide should have compassion and have interpersonal skills. They should have observational skills, like recognizing any mood changes in a patient and maintaining safety.
Because this job can be emotionally challenging, one should have patience and keep calm in stressful situations. Physical stamina is required as this job keeps one on their feet for long hours and requires lifting, moving and restraining a patient.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5 percent growth in 2014-2024 in this occupation.