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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Piccicacco

Personalized Treatment: Tailoring Medication Plans with Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Medication Plans

Mental health can impact nearly every aspect of a person’s life, from overall emotional well-being to their sleep, appetite, academic performance and relationships. If you’re concerned about your or your child’s mental health, you may be curious about potential treatment options. The role of the psychiatric nurse practitioner is to work collaboratively with patients to devise an individualized, accessible treatment plan to help you meet your wellness goals. Psychiatric nurse practitioners specialize in the management of psychotropic medications. Medication(s) can play a significant role in improving certain mental health conditions.


While medications can make a big difference, they need to be prescribed and managed with care. That’s where individualized, tailored medication management comes into play.


Below, we’ll discuss how individualized medication plans work and how you can pursue one for you or your child.


Tailoring Medication Plans with Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

The Role of Psychiatric Medication in Mental Health

Each year, an estimated 16.5% of American adults take prescription psychotropic medications. These medications can help manage the symptoms of various mental health conditions; including anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, and thought disorders.


The five main categories of mental health medications are as follows:

  • Anti-anxiety medications may reduce anxious thoughts and physical symptoms of anxiety.

  • Antidepressant medications may mitigate feelings of sadness and suicidal ideation.

  • Stimulants/ non stimulants can improve concentration and executive functioning.

  • Mood stabilizers aim to level out drastic mood swings

  • Antipsychotic medications can improve mood and reduce hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners work collaboratively with their patients to determine the right type of medication(s) for the management of their specific symptoms. Every individual may respond differently to medication(s). Medication response is driven by several factors: genetics, environmental/ social factors, and overall adherence to the medication management plan. Continued reassessment of your response, potential side effects and intended benefits is important for successful treatment planning and symptom remission.


What is Psychiatric Medication Management?

Medication management is a process where a psychiatric nurse practitioner evaluates patient's symptoms, health history, and medication history and treatment goals to make an informed decision on treatment options. This process is crucial to ensuring patients’ health, safety, and treatment optimization.

During a medication management appointment, a nurse practitioner may:

  • Review their patient’s medical records

  • Assess their patient’s mental health status

  • Prescribe psychiatric medications

  • Explain the safety and efficacy of these medications

  • Adjust prescription doses

  • Provide referrals for other types of treatment when necessary

  • Answer their patient’s questions


With proper medication management, nurse practitioners can help their patients achieve their treatment goals and improve their quality of life.


What Happens During a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Medication Management Appointment?


Your initial management appointment can take anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. If you’re making the appointment for your child, it may take longer, since the psychiatric nurse practitioner will need to speak to both of you.


To prepare for your medication management appointments, you should:

  • Take a deep breath! You’ve done the most difficult part in choosing to seek mental health care

  • Complete all of the intake documents that were sent to you ahead of time. Failure to do so may result in the cancellation of your appointment.

  • Take note of any potential medication-related side effects or benefits you have experienced in the past

  • Note any recent changes in physical health or medical medications

  • Any questions you have about you or your child’s care


Your nurse practitioner will discuss these topics during your appointment. Your nurse practitioner may suggest changes to medication(s) or other components of your treatment plan based on your reporting.


Note: Sometimes, medication isn’t the right treatment. In this case, your nurse practitioner may suggest that you seek therapy, visit a dietician, or work with a sleep specialist instead.

What About Follow-Up Appointments?

As mentioned earlier, medication management is an ongoing process. You’ll want to schedule your next follow-up appointment at the end of your initial appointment. Your nurse practitioner will provide their recommendation on how frequent your follow up appointments should be. The frequency may vary depending on the acuity of your symptoms or necessary monitoring of medication changes.


Follow-up appointments are required to get refills of your prescriptions. These appointments should be much shorter than your initial intake appointment,typically 30 minutes, since your nurse practitioner will already have a baseline of mental health information about you or your child on file.


As of today, the prescribing laws in the state of Virginia and federal law will require patients to see their psychiatric nurse practitioner in person at least once a year to renew prescriptions beginning in 2025. This is dependent on the type of medication you are prescribed. You may not be required to meet in person at all. Your nurse practitioner will direct you to schedule an in-person appointment when necessary. Once the yearly requirement is met, you may continue telehealth appointments for the remainder of the year.


Get Individualized Treatment with Nurse Practitioners at Fairfax

At Fairfax Mental Health & Wellness (FMHW), our team of highly qualified, compassionate psychiatric nurse practitioners can help you or your child on the journey to better mental health. Here are the steps involved in our medication management process:

  • Screening – Before we schedule your initial appointment, a member of our administration team will ask you questions over the phone to match you with the right type of mental health provider. We will also gather your insurance information, send you required intake documents, and collect a deposit payment at this time.

  • Intake – During your medication management appointment, your nurse practitioner will ask about your mental history, your present day concerns and symptoms, and future treatment goals. At the conclusion of your appointment, the nurse practitioner will make treatment recommendations. This may include medication options and/or additional support options such as therapy, nutritionists, exercise, or another specialist. Together you will devise a treatment plan that best fits your goals. The nurse practitioner will answer any questions you may have.

  • Maintenance – You can schedule follow-up appointments with us, called “med checks.” Follow up appointments are necessary to reevaluate your symptoms, make changes to your treatment plan, and to refill your prescriptions.

At FMHW, we make mental health care convenient and easy! Our clinicians offer convenient telehealth consultations, as well as in-person appointments at our office in Fairfax, Virginia.


Are you ready to take control of your or your child’s mental health? Call FMHW today to learn more about our medication management services.


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