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Psychiatric technicians work with people with mental illness, emotional disturbances, or developmental disabilities. Their duties vary considerably depending on place of work, but may include helping patients with hygiene and housekeeping and recording patients' pulse, temperature, and respiration rates. Psychiatric technicians participate in treatment programs by having one-on-one sessions with patients, under a nurse's or counselor's direction.
Another prime aspect of the psychiatric technician's work is reporting observations of patients' behavior to medical and psychiatric staff. Psychiatric technicians may also fill out admitting forms for new patients, contact patients' families to arrange conferences, issue medications from the dispensary, and maintain records. There are approximately 66,760 psychiatric technicians employed in the United States.