As a nursing student aspiring to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), my professional growth and future employment goals are pivotal in shaping my career trajectory. In this essay, I will outline the two objectives I aim to achieve in terms of continuing education and employment plans, and subsequently delve into an ethical issue from a global perspective that influences mental health care for clients and their families.
Professional Growth Goals
Continuing Education and Certification
One of my primary goals is to pursue further education and attain certification in Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as soon as I graduate. MAT is a critical aspect of mental health treatment, especially for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. By obtaining certification in this field, I will not only enhance my knowledge and skills but also be better equipped to provide comprehensive care to clients who require MAT as part of their treatment plan. Research has shown that MAT significantly improves treatment outcomes and reduces relapse rates among individuals with substance use disorders (Amato et al., 2018).
Moreover, staying updated with the latest research and evidence-based practices in MAT will enable me to offer the most effective and patient-centered care. As an aspiring PMHNP, it is my ethical responsibility to provide the best possible care to my clients, and continuing education is the cornerstone of fulfilling this responsibility.
My ultimate aspiration is to work with children as a PMHNP, providing specialized mental health care tailored to their unique needs. Working with children allows for early intervention and support, which can significantly impact their long-term well-being. Numerous studies emphasize the importance of early intervention in childhood mental health to prevent long-term negative outcomes and improve overall quality of life (Edbrooke-Childs et al., 2018).
Additionally, I envision myself transitioning to an outpatient adult clinic to expand my scope of practice and cater to a broader population with diverse mental health challenges. By gaining experience in both child and adult mental health care, I can foster a more holistic understanding of mental health issues and contribute effectively to the diverse needs of my community.
Future Employment Goal
An ethical issue from a global perspective that significantly influences mental health care for clients and their families is the stigma surrounding mental health. Stigma can be viewed as a social and psychological construct that perpetuates negative attitudes, stereotypes, and discriminatory behaviors towards individuals experiencing mental health disorders (Pescosolido et al., 2018). The consequences of mental health stigma are far-reaching and can impede timely access to appropriate care, exacerbate mental health conditions, and hinder overall well-being.
The Impact of Stigma on Mental Health Care
Access to Care: Stigma leads to individuals avoiding seeking help due to fear of judgment and discrimination. This delays the identification and treatment of mental health conditions, causing them to worsen over time. In a global context, stigma may be particularly pronounced in cultures where mental health discussions are considered taboo or associated with shame.
Disparities in Care: Stigmatization can create disparities in mental health care, affecting marginalized populations disproportionately. Studies have shown that ethnic minorities and individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds may face additional barriers due to discrimination, limiting their access to quality mental health services (Williams et al., 2019).
Treatment Adherence: The internalized stigma can impact treatment adherence as individuals may feel unworthy of care or harbor doubts about the effectiveness of treatments. This non-adherence may hinder the recovery process and lead to adverse outcomes for clients and their families.
Role of Advocacy and Education
As a future PMHNP, it is imperative to recognize the significance of advocacy and education in combatting mental health stigma. By actively advocating for mental health awareness and challenging societal misconceptions, healthcare professionals can play a pivotal role in destigmatizing mental health conditions. Implementing evidence-based anti-stigma campaigns can help raise public awareness and promote empathy and understanding.
Furthermore, integrating mental health education into school curricula and workplace training programs can foster a culture of acceptance and support. In collaboration with mental health organizations and policymakers, I can contribute to the development of policies that protect the rights and dignity of individuals with mental health conditions.
As I pursue my professional growth goals of continuing education and certification in MAT and strive towards future employment as a PMHNP working with children and adults, I am cognizant of the ethical challenges associated with mental health care on a global scale. The issue of stigma significantly impacts clients and their families, hindering access to care, perpetuating disparities, and affecting treatment adherence. However, through advocacy, education, and policy changes, I am committed to promoting a stigma-free environment and improving mental health care for all.
Amato, L., Minozzi, S., Davoli, M., & Vecchi, S. (2018). Psychosocial combined with agonist maintenance treatments versus agonist maintenance treatments alone for treatment of opioid dependence. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 4(4), CD004147.
Edbrooke-Childs, J., Wolpert, M., Zamperoni, V., Napoleone, E., Bear, H., & Fonagy, P. (2018). The relationship between child- and parent-reported shared decision making and child-, parent-, and clinician-reported treatment outcome in routinely collected child mental health services data. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 23(2), 370-380.
Pescosolido, B. A., Martin, J. K., Long, J. S., Medina, T. R., Phelan, J. C., & Link, B. G. (2018). “A disease like any other”? A decade of change in public reactions to schizophrenia, depression, and alcohol dependence. American Journal of Psychiatry, 175(3), 224-232.
Williams, D. R., Lawrence, J. A., & Davis, B. A. (2019). Racism and health: Evidence and needed research. Annual Review of Public Health, 40, 105-125.