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Career Details


Psychiatric technicians, sometimes called mental health technicians, typically do the following:Observe patients’ behavior, listen to their concerns, and record their conditionLead patients in therapeutic and recreational activitiesGive medications and other treatments to patients, following instructions from doctors and other medical professionalsHelp with admitting and discharging patientsMonitor patients’ vital signs, such as their blood pressureHelp patients with activities of daily living, including eating and bathingRestrain patients who may become physically violentPsychiatric aides typically do the following:Monitor patients’ behavior and location in a mental healthcare facilityHelp patients with their daily living activities, such as bathing or dressingServe meals and help patients eatKeep facilities clean by doing tasks such as changing bed linensParticipate in group activities, such as playing sports or going on field tripsHelp transport patients within a hospital or residential care facilityRestrain patients who may become physically violentMany psychiatric technicians and aides work with patients who are severely developmentally disabled and need intensive care. Others work with patients undergoing rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction. The work of psychiatric technicians and aides varies depending on the types of patients they work with.Psychiatric technicians and aides work as part of a medical team, under the direction of physicians and alongside other healthcare professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, social workers, counselors, and therapists. For more information on the counselors and therapists they may work with, see the profiles on substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, rehabilitation counselors, and mental health counselors and marriage and family therapists.Because they have such close contact with patients, psychiatric technicians and aides can have a great deal of influence on patients' outlook and treatment.
Personality & Interest

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Psychiatric technicians typically have an interest in the Doer, Helper and Organiser interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Doer interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Helper interest area indicates a focus on assisting, serving, counselling, or teaching other people. The Organiser interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.If you are not sure whether you have a Doer or Helper or Organiser interest which might fit with a career as a psychiatric technician, you can take a career test to measure your interests.Psychiatric technicians should also possess the following specific qualities:Compassion. Because psychiatric technicians and aides spend much of their time interacting with patients, they should be caring and want to help people.Interpersonal skills. Psychiatric technicians and aides often provide ongoing care for patients, so they should be able to develop a rapport with patients, making them better able to treat their patients and evaluate their condition.Observational skills. Technicians must watch patients closely and be sensitive to any changes in behavior. For their safety and that of their patients, they must recognize signs of discomfort or trouble among patients.Patience. Working with the mentally ill can be emotionally challenging. Psychiatric technicians and aides must be able to stay calm in stressful situations.Physical stamina. Psychiatric technicians and aides must be able to lift, move, and sometimes restrain patients. They must also be able to spend much of their time on their feet.
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