The Ever-Increasing Role of Nurses in Promoting Mental Health

Despite popular belief, nursing is one of the most challenging jobs to exist. Although highly undervalued, nurses play an integral role in patient care and recovery. In reality, without nurses’ assistance, even doctors find it pretty challenging to diagnose and treat patients.

Nurses are responsible for maintaining records, checking patients’ history, administering medications, and performing diagnostic tests. Some nurses also operate medical equipment, organize workload, and supervise staff. Nurses work in a variety of fields, including cardiology, emergency, geriatric, surgery, etc. However, one area where the roles of nurses are rapidly increasing is in promoting mental health.

As times progress, an increasing number of people are becoming aware of mental health and seeking help. That means the demand for nurses to promote mental health is also elevating. After all, nurses can leave a significant impact on mental health patients. Let’s now discuss a few ways how nurses can promote mental health.

Diagnosing patients with psychological disorders

The most crucial role nurses play in promoting mental health is diagnosing and treating patients with mental illnesses. It is essential to note that nurses do not make medical diagnoses rather a statement of patient’s problems. These can be in the form of interviews, physical checks, or even some laboratory tests. The fundamental purpose of a nursing diagnosis is to help develop a care plan for patients. Doctors always make a medical diagnosis. However, highly specialized nurses, especially those with a terminal degree in nursing, can devise patients’ treatment plans. And so, given the expanding roles of DNPs, we can see why this degree is gaining immense popularity.

Provide patient care

People suffering from troubling mental health often require as much support as they can get. And nurses help in giving patients the best possible care they can receive. They ensure you feel comfortable at all times, keep you updated about your health, and listen to your concerns.  If needed, even file complaints to the health services on your behalf. A good nurse would always foster trusting caregiving relationships, emphasize freedom of choice, and respect an individual’s values and beliefs. Nurses don’t only provide coordinated care but also personalized care, support, and treatment.

Nurses working with mental health patients must show respect and genuine concern towards patients. It shows their compassion and commitment towards their role.

Nurses provide emotional support

The best role nurses can play to promote mental health is providing emotional support. Mental health patients suffer a lot, and sometimes all they need is a shoulder to cry on, and that’s where nurses can help. They can show empathy, offer calming treatments to jittery patients, and show how much they care for them.

The best thing nurses can do is work on their assessment and conversation skills. Initiate a conversation, listen to your patients’ needs, acknowledge their problems, and understand their values. Try to avoid topics that cause discomfort to patients. When you can successfully recognize an individual’s psychological state indicators, you can genuinely help them in ways you probably thought were beyond your capabilities.

Nurses are commendable professionals. The emotional support they can provide can be life-changing for many patients.

Build a relationship with patients

Building a trusting nurse-patient relationship is a highly critical part of a nurse’s job. It improves the health-related outcomes of the patients and helps patients engage in their healthcare.

You can establish a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship by showing empathy, being relational and supportive, and providing knowledgeable feedback with every interaction. Please also ensure you always use your patient’s names while addressing them. It helps in establishing trust and respect. You must also actively listen to your patient’s concerns and never invalidate their experiences. Active listening is a crucial part of the relationship-building process. Spend time with them and try learning about their sufferings as much as you can. Some people take time to open up but be patient entirely, and they’ll eventually come around. And most importantly, maintain professional boundaries. Each patient is different, and you must respect their cultures and differences.

If done correctly, the nurse-patient relationship can leave a tremendous positive impact on a patient’s mental health.

Consulting with senior health professionals

While nurses and doctors may work together in the same field, their tasks and roles differ slightly. Nurses’ job is to assist and help patients pre-and post-recovery. Diagnosing and giving out medical treatments is beyond the scope of an entry-level nurse’s role. That is a professional doctor’s part.

Hence, it would be best if nurses always consulted healthcare professionals for everything from advisory to regular updates about a patient’s health. Mental health issues are a serious concern. Therefore, communication with experts is crucial for the safety and quality of patient care.


Nurses work in various fields and witness patients with several mental illnesses such as bipolar disorders, panic disorders, depression, phobias, etc. Whatever the cause of concern is, if nurses play their part right, they could help promote mental health awareness.

Nurses who show compassion while delivering patient care can drastically increase the chances of a successful patient outcome.

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