Psychiatric Unit RN Travel Nursing Guide

Understanding of the need for better mental health care continues to grow in the United States and many other countries. With better advocacy and understanding, demand is higher and consistently growing for psych nurses, and that means there are lots of well-paying psych travel nursing jobs in exciting locations nationwide!

Psych Nurse Travel Careers

A career in psych travel nursing is a great way for you to avoid nurse burnout — the job can still be very demanding and stressful, but the variety of locations and facilities can help keep you fresher and more motivated to care for your patients. It’s also a great way to keep your skills sharp, avoid hospital politics, gain crucial experience, and build your resume. When you travel with Medical Solutions, you’ll also earn great money and have great benefits.

To be successful working in psych nursing you must be adaptable, empathetic, an excellent communicator, patient and cool-headed, able to expertly diagnose and treat patients, a good problem-solver, and able to function well in an environment that can vary.

A psych team’s goal is to assess, stabilize, and treat their patients as quickly as possible. Psych nurses can be the frontline when it comes to assessment and it’s critical for them to collect and document patient data, administer medication, evaluate reactions to medication/treatment/care, develop diagnoses, provide ongoing care to patients, help patients cope, and so much more.

Psych nurses often work in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings, including hospitals, outpatient facilities, home health, mental health organizations, schools, correctional facilities, and more. They may work one-on-one with individuals, or with families and other groups.

Work in the psychiatric unit can be very challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. It’s a great fit for those who really care for patients and gain satisfaction from helping patients emerge from crisis and stabilize their mental health.

Who Works in the Psychiatric Unit?

A wide range of healthcare professionals work in psych or behavioral health units, joining forces to best serve their patients. Pysch team members can include psych RNs, psych CNAs, social workers/case managers, licensed professional counselors, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, sex therapists, nurse practitioners, licensed behavioral analysts, clergy, police officers, EMTs, and administrative staff.

Who’s Treated in the Psychiatric Unit?

A wide range of patients and mental health concerns are treated in the psychiatric unit and other psychiatric facilities. Typically, a psych nurse is involved when a patient seems to be a danger to themselves or others, as well as for preventative care. Psych nurses can often be called into other hospital units or facilities to address mental health concerns there. Thus, patients could be suffering from any type of physical condition or illness that might have them in the hospital and/or could be suffering specifically from mental health issues including suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, severe anxiety, severe depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, nervous breakdown, psychosis, dementia, schizophrenia, and severe changes in sleep, mood, and appetite.

Psych Nurse Requirements

Education requirements for Psych RNs include an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and/or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Additional requirements such as passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) are also required. A Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Certification (PMH-BC) may be required in addition to the other requirements above. The PMH-BC is available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Additional requirements for Psych Registered Nurses certification will sometimes include two years of experience as a full-time RN, completion of 30 hours of CE in Mental Health/Psychiatric nursing within the last three years, and at least 2,000 hours in clinical practice.

How Much Do Psych RN Earn?

  • National Yearly Average: $79,000-$89,000
  • Average Overtime Pay Per Year: $12,125
  • Highest Paying States for Psych RNs: Arizona, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, Hawaii, Indiana, New Jersey, Connecticut, Washington, and New York. High end Psych Nurse salaries are sometimes as high as $122,000/year.
  • Lowest Paying States for Psych RNs: North Carolina, Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Arkansas, Maine, Idaho, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. Low end Psych Nurse salaries are sometimes as low as $34,000/year.


Quick Psychiatric Unit Facts

  • Required psych RN education: Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and/or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), plus passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
  • Required psych certifications: Basic Life Support (BLS), Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI)
  • Preferred psych certifications: Management of Assaultive Behavior (MAB), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
  • Required experience to become a travel psych RN: Facilities typically require a minimum of two years of recent, in-hospital experience in order to hire you as a psych travel nurse. You’ll want the benefit of experience since travel nurses have to hit the ground running!
  • Average U.S. annual psych RN salary range: $45,000-$121,000
  • Locations where psych RNs are in high demand: Demand for psych RNs is growing nationwide! California, Colorado, and Arizona reflect high demand with higher average psych RN salaries.

Find travel Psych Travel Nursing jobs nearby and in destinations all over the United States.


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Personalized Pay Packages

We offer competitive compensation packages to fit your needs, including a company-matching 401(k)program and/or per diem allowances.

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Insurance Benefits

Medical Solutions Psych travel nurses are eligible for day-one, nationwide medical insurance coverage starting at just $10 per week for a single, basic policy.

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24hr Customer Care

Your dedicated recruiter is there to help guide you throughout your career & Psych travel nursing experience with Medical Solutions.

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We want to make your travel nursing experience painless. That's why we will provide reimbursements on state licenses or certification fees.

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We connect care by staffing healthcare facilities nationwide with caring & compassionate Psychiatric Unit Nurses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about Psychiatric Unit Travel Nursing Jobs with Medical Solutions and Travel Nursing in general.

Simply apply here. You can also call us at 1.866.633.3548 and speak with a recruiter, who can answer your questions and send you an information packet. All we need to begin is your application and resume. Once we receive your information, we can begin discussing potential assignments that fit your profile. When you find a job you want, your recruiter will submit you for the job and walk you through the process from there.
Most assignments are 13 weeks in length, but we’ve seen them as short as four weeks and as long as 24. You are obligated to finish your assignment as contracted, but there is no contract binding you to work more assignments afterward. You can take a new assignment right after your last or take a break. It’s all up to you!
Your total compensation package — including your hourly pay, benefits, bonuses, reimbursements, etc. — is completely customized to fit your needs. Pay rates vary from assignment to assignment depending on location, the hospital, your specialty, and other factors.