Skip to main content
A-Z IndexCalendarsDirectoryMaps
Home / Academics / Careers / Psychiatric Aides Career

Psychiatric Aides Career

Career Description

Assist mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients, working under direction of nursing and medical staff. May assist with daily living activities, lead patients in educational and recreational activities, or accompany patients to and from examinations and treatments. May restrain violent patients. Includes psychiatric orderlies.

What Job Titles Psychiatric Aides Might Have

  • Mental Health Aide (MHA)
  • Mental Health Worker (MHW)
  • Psychiatric Aide
  • Psychiatric Nursing Aide
  • Psychiatric Nursing Assistant
  • Resident Care Technician
  • Therapeutic Program Worker (TPW)

What Psychiatric Aides Do

  • Record and maintain patient information, such as vital signs, eating habits, behavior, progress notes, treatments, or discharge plans.
  • Listen and provide emotional support and encouragement to psychiatric patients.
  • Complete physical checks and monitor patients to detect unusual or harmful behavior and report observations to professional staff.
  • Restrain or aid patients as necessary to prevent injury.
  • Serve meals or feed patients needing assistance or persuasion.
  • Work as part of a team that may include psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, or social workers.
  • Clean and disinfect rooms and furnishings to maintain a safe and orderly environment.
  • Provide mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients with routine physical, emotional, psychological, or rehabilitation care under the direction of nursing or medical staff.
  • Maintain patients' restrictions to assigned areas.
  • Provide patients with assistance in bathing, dressing, or grooming, demonstrating these skills as necessary.
  • Aid patients in becoming accustomed to hospital routine.
  • Organize, supervise, or encourage patient participation in social, educational, or recreational activities.
  • Perform nursing duties, such as administering medications, measuring vital signs, collecting specimens, or drawing blood samples.
  • Accompany patients to and from wards for medical or dental treatments, shopping trips, or religious or recreational events.
  • Participate in recreational activities with patients, including card games, sports, or television viewing.
  • Complete administrative tasks, such as entering orders into computer, answering telephone calls, or maintaining medical or facility information.
  • Interview patients upon admission and record information.

What Psychiatric Aides Should Be Good At

  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Flexibility of Closure - The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.

What Psychiatric Aides Should Be Interested In

  • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Social - Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

What Psychiatric Aides Need to Learn

  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Sun iconThis career has a bright outlook.
Median Salary: $31,570

This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license.