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Career Videos

Psychiatric Technicians Career Video

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.

Video Transcript

Psychiatric technicians and aides provide safety and support to help people with mental illness and severe developmental disabilities enjoy quality of life, and to improve their mental health. Also known as mental health technicians, psychiatric technicians assist with patients’ therapeutic care; they listen to patients’ concerns and lead them in recreational or therapeutic activities. They also have medical tasks, administering medication and monitoring patients’ vital signs. Psychiatric aides assist with transportation, engage patients in activities, and maintain a safe, clean physical environment. Both technicians and aides help patients with daily living needs, such as eating, bathing, and dressing. Meeting patients’ needs requires patience and fortitude as well as the stamina to be on your feet all day and, if it comes to it, the strength to restrain a distressed or violent patient. It’s not always pleasant work. However, these workers can have a great deal of influence on patients’ outlooks and treatments. Observation skills, communication, and compassion are key qualities in these fields. Psychiatric technicians and aides work in psychiatric hospitals, residential mental health facilities, and chemical dependency addiction treatment centers. Facilities are typically all-hours, so work hours may include nights, weekends, and holidays. Psychiatric technicians usually need a certificate in the field, and many also have previous experience as a nursing assistant or licensed practical nurse. Psychiatric aides typically need only a high school diploma. Both technicians and aides get on-the-job training before they work without direct supervision.