Occ. Code 5500530


New York State Department of Civil Service

Classification Standard


Incumbents of positions in this class are registered professional nurses who plan and provide a highly skilled level of direct psychiatric nursing care to individuals with mental illness or alcoholism who are being served by the Office of Mental Health or the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. The role of the Nurse 3 (Psychiatric) combines psychiatric practice, teaching, consultation/liaison and research components. Nurses 3 (Psychiatric), functioning in accordance with the Standards of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Practice, use advanced knowledge and skills in clinical nursing to assess or assist in the assessment of nursing intervention needs of recipients with specialized problems and conditions; develop or assist in the development of appropriate nursing interventions; implement or assist in the implementation of plans of nursing intervention; monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of overall nursing treatments and interventions; recommend appropriate modifications; and provide clinical consultation on nursing matters to treatment teams and lower level nursing and direct care staffs. The Nurse 3 (Psychiatric) role requires clinical nursing knowledge and skills, problem-solving skills, the ability to promote patient self care and to collaborate with other staff members and treatment providers.

Positions of Nurse 3 (Psychiatric) are classified only for the facilities of the Office of Mental Health and the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.


Nurse 3 (Psychiatric) positions are classified on the basis of both the number of patients cared for and the intensity of health care required. The ratio of patients to Nurses 3 (Psychiatric) may range from a high of 50 or 75 to 1 for those in the Admissions Units to a low of 15 or 20 to 1 in the Forensic and Secure Care Units due to the higher level of care required for the latter type of patient.

The overall responsibilities of Nurses 3 (Psychiatric) in any work situation consist of supplying direct nursing care and acting as a consultant, teacher, and resource person to treatment teams, lower level professional nurses, and other direct care staff.


Nurses 2 and Nurses 2 (Psychiatric), Grade 16, plan, provide and supervise nursing services on a ward or wards in a hospital, developmental center, psychiatric facility, alcoholism treatment center or in a clinic, infirmary, State-operated community residential program or other community-based setting where physical and/or mental health care is provided. Incumbents supervise Nurses 1, Licensed Practical Nurses and others in the provision of nursing interventions to patients/recipients.

Nurse Administrators 1 (Psychiatric), Grade 20, are responsible for nursing services on a unit containing a number of wards and may be in charge of nursing services for an entire facility on the evening and night shifts.


A Nurse 3 (Psychiatric) functions as a nurse specialist on a treatment team by developing, implementing, and evaluating nursing care aspects of treatment plans for a select group of patients. Typically, these patients will exhibit the most severe conditions or complicated problems which require the high degree of skill and knowledge possessed by nurses with advanced training and experience in dealing with psychiatric or alcoholic patients (e.g., individuals with the most severe behavior problems; those with major medical problems in addition to psychiatric or alcoholic conditions; or those receiving special treatments).

May serve as a primary therapist to a select group of patients with specialized needs.

Assesses the nursing needs of groups of patients in the assigned work area; develops and ensures the implementation of interventions and programs designed to meet identified needs; and evaluates the outcome of interventions and programs in relationship to established objectives. These activities are performed in collaboration with the treatment team.

Serves as a consultant, teacher, and resource person to lower level professional nurses and other direct care staff in their assessment of patients' status and in planning, implementing, and evaluating patient care. Uses skill in the theory and practice of psychiatric nursing to assess patients' problems and develop appropriate interventions.


Nurses 3 (Psychiatric) function with considerable independence in using professional judgment to treat patients and solve all but the most difficult problems on their own initiative. Administrative supervision may be provided by a higher level professional nurse, Chief of Service, Treatment Team Leader, Director or Supervisor of ATC Clinical Services, or other unit supervisor, depending on the organization of the facility and the assignment of particular Nurse 3 positions. Supervision of nursing activities is provided by higher level nurses or the Directors of Nursing.


Nurses 3 (Psychiatric) may perform any of the range of psychiatric nursing duties described for Nurse 2 (Psychiatric). However, at this level incumbents function as nurse specialists and consultants in clinical nursing matters. Because of the high level of knowledge and skill possessed by incumbents, the relationship of Nurses 3 (Psychiatric) and their supervisors is often one of consultation and joint development of decisions regarding patient treatment needs and procedures to meet the needs. Incumbents of Nurse 3 (Psychiatric) positions strive to improve patient outcomes from a research perspective through collection of data, monitoring and evaluations and provision of care from the most current research perspectives.


The role of Nurses 3 (Psychiatric) as consultant, teacher, and resource person is characterized by frequent oral and written communication in the assessment of nursing needs, the collaborative planning and development of programs to address these needs, and the evaluation and modification of treatments and programs to improve patient care outcomes. The role of consultant also includes demonstration and on-the-spot teaching of more effective psychiatric nursing interventions to all levels of professional nurses in order to improve the quality of nursing care.

Incumbents keep the Director of Nursing informed of nursing successes, problems, and potential problems regarding nursing clinical issues through bi-weekly communication with the Director of Nursing and through reports made at nursing service committees.


As clinical coordinators, incumbents provide clinical supervision for Nurses 1, Nurses 2, and Nurses 2 (Psychiatric); assist in providing special clinical supervision to nurses whose clinical performance is under administrative review.



Possession of a New York State Registered Nurse license and current registration; and graduation from a baccalaureate program in nursing and two years of full-time clinical nursing experience (obtained after receipt of a registered nurse's license) with patients, of whom 51% or more had been diagnosed as mentally ill and/or alcoholic. Completion of a Master's or doctoral degree program in nursing may be substituted for one year of the required clinical nursing experience with patients who have mental illness or alcoholism as their primary diagnosis.

NOTE: For current information on minimum qualifications contact the Division of Staffing Services.


Date: 5/96