What to Expect During Your First Psychiatric Evaluation
We’re excited that you’ve scheduled your first appointment with one of our practitioners for a psychiatric evaluation. It will differ from future visits, but only because you and your provider are getting to know each other. They have to learn about your entire medical and mental health history quickly, so it may feel rushed. However, you can be confident that all the Balance Psychiatric Services providers will invest time gathering all the information they can to provide you with the best, personalized care possible.
Ready to learn more about what to expect during your first visit? Here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
What Type of Provider Will I See?
Our providers are psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP), meaning they have a nursing and mental health care background. After receiving a bachelor’s in nursing and a master’s in nursing with a concentration in mental health, PMHNPs can sit for the national certification exam by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
How Will the Visit Start?
Once you and the provider log onto the telehealth platform, they will ask you a few questions to determine your location, if you’re in a private area, or other details necessary for confidentiality and risk management. They’ll also review HIPAA and mandatory reporting policies with you, which are pretty standard; they are required to report if you’re a danger to yourself or others but aren’t able to disclose any of your private health information to anyone else. Here’s a great article about HIPAA and mental health records privacy.
What Kinds of Questions Will My Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Ask?
Since the purpose of the visit is so the provider can get the information they need to prescribe and create your treatment plan accurately, they will ask many questions about your health background:
- Presenting “Problems”: One of the first things you’ll do during your appointment is describe the mental health symptoms you’re dealing with. It’s essential to be honest and tell your provider anything that’s been going on, like anxiety or depression. They may assess your mental status with questionnaires or surveys to see if you meet the criteria for a diagnosis or to rule out problems.
- Family History: Your family history helps your PMHNP understand whether genetic or hereditary factors could contribute to your concerns. They might ask whether anyone in your family has had a diagnosed mental health disorder, a history of substance abuse, or other relevant conditions. If you can’t provide all your family history, do your best to summarize what you know (if anything).
- Medical and Mental Health History: Along with your current symptoms, you can expect your PMHNP to want a thorough understanding of past diagnoses, medications, therapies, and prior experiences with mental health treatment. This information helps them to assess the context and trajectory of your condition.
- Allergies: Your safety is always the top priority during any healthcare visit. Be sure you disclose all allergies to medications or other triggers to avoid having an adverse reaction to a treatment.
- Goals for Treatment: Plan to discuss your treatment goals during your appointment. If you know what symptoms you’d like to target with medication or improvements you’d like to see, let your PMHNP know. This conversation helps in setting realistic expectations and developing a personalized treatment plan that aligns with your goals.
Will I Have to Have Any Exams?
Since all our visits are virtual, we don’t conduct any physical exams. However, your provider might ask about your last physical or appointment with your primary care doctor. Blood test results and notes from specialists are two examples of medical records they may request.
How Can I Schedule an Appointment?
Are you reading this blog but haven’t scheduled an appointment yet? It’s simple. All you need to do is call us at (412)467-6410 or fill out the contact form on our website. Someone from our office will get back to you shortly to get you on the schedule.