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Psychiatric Nurse Treating Eating Disorders

Learn about the Psychiatric Nurse Career

According to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, nearly half of all Americans personally know someone with an eating disorder.1

The pervasiveness of eating disorders has led the medical and mental health industry to develop health care services specifically designed to treat individuals with eating disorders.  Medical doctors, mental health specialists, and dieticians are the key players in this field of health-care, but nurses also play a critical role in providing the care people with eating disorders require to get well. 

Treating eating disorder patients is largely a mental health issue, so nurses who attend to these patients are usually referred to as psychiatric nurses.  However, nurses in this field provide both psychological and physical care.  For example, a nurse working at a residential eating disorder treatment center is usually responsible for new patient assessment.  Patient assessment requires completing vitals, weighing patients, administering medication, and appraising the mental health of the patient. 

Nutrition Dietetics

With patients who are already in treatment, nurses use their expertise to determine how to treat patients in emergency situations, or stabilize patients until a medical doctor or mental health specialist arrives.  For instance, many eating disorder patients experience intense anxiety (see Anxiety), and may lapse into an anxiety attack.  Nurses use their psychiatric skills to calm the patient, or make the decision to alert a therapist if the patient requires advanced treatment.

In addition, eating disorder specialized nurses also provide direct support to doctors and mental health specialists.  Nurses often assist medical doctors during follow up patient examinations and procedures, and provide psychiatric supervision to at risk patients when mental health specialists are treating other patients.

The support nurses provide to patients and health-care specialists allows for the specialized system of eating disorder treatment services to operate fluidly and effectively. Most nurses who work with eating disorder patients need to have strong interpersonal skills. They must both manage the psychological demands of their patients, and interact easily with the various health providers caring for eating disorder patients.

Nurses working with eating disorder patients usually work in inpatient residential clinics, hospitals, university health clinics, and outpatient treatment centers.  If you have a strong desire to help individuals with eating disorders recover, and to provide essential support to health-care professionals treating eating disorder patients, a career as a psychiatric nurse may be for you. 

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Resources:
1South Carolina Department of Mental Health

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  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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  • Ranked one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Offers a no-obligation, 3-week trial period where students may determine if the university is right for them before they commit to it.
  • Strives to be a student’s partner in lifelong learning; committed to helping them achieve their goals.
  • Serves students of all ages, from first-graders learning to read to professionals seeking postgraduate training.
  • Provides career-oriented diploma through master’s programs in fields such as healthcare, business, legal and paralegal services, information technology, criminal justice and design.
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  • Ranked one of the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2014 by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Offers a no-obligation, 3-week trial period where students may determine if the university is right for them before they commit to it.
  • Strives to be a student’s partner in lifelong learning; committed to helping them achieve their goals.
  • Serves students of all ages, from first-graders learning to read to professionals seeking postgraduate training.
  • Provides career-oriented diploma through master’s programs in fields such as healthcare, business, legal and paralegal services, information technology, criminal justice and design.
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  • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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  • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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  • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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  • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify.
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  • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California.
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  • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify.
  • Features several learning model options, including online, residency, and hybrid options.
  • Offers graduate degree programs in organizational leadership, mind-body medicine, psychology and human science.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California.
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