Psychiatric Mental Health

Program Description

The post-APRN certification program in psychiatric mental health nursing is available for currently licensed and certified advanced practice nurses. Admission preference is given to applicants with at least two years of experience as an APRN and/or one year of advanced practice patient care in an approved psychiatric mental health setting. Approved psychiatric mental health settings include acute inpatient psychiatric units and outpatient psychiatric settings that include behavioral health centers, community health clinics, substance use clinics and facilities, and private practices that manage patients across the lifespan with mental health disorders.

This is a 21-25 credit hour program, consisting of five didactic and two variable credit clinical courses. All didactic courses are offered via online modalities. Four didactic courses focus on implementation of disciplined reasoning in the application of therapeutic and evidence-based psychiatric mental health advanced nursing practice across the lifespan. An additional didactic course is designed to reinforce role delineation between the primary care and psychiatric mental health APRN and explore common practice issues specific to the psychiatric mental health APRN. This course will explore the foundations of the role along with an overall introduction to psychiatric mental health nursing across the lifespan.

National certification requires a minimum 500 clock hours of direct patient care in the advanced role and population. However, some students may have accrued appropriate hours prior to admission. Therefore, the program will be personalized via gap analyses (see Appendix 1) to determine the number of clinical practicum hours required of each student. Any hours accrued prior to admission must have been academically supervised and completed in an appropriate psychiatric mental health setting (as detailed above). The number of practicum hours required to complete this program are equal to 9 academic credits (540 clock hours), based upon the gap analysis. Students will be responsible for committing to and scheduling clinical hours each semester with guidance from the track coordinator, taking into consideration his or her home and work commitments.

Post-Master's Certificate Outcomes

Graduates of the FNP, PNP, PMHNP, and AGACNP certificate programs will be able to:

  1. Conduct a comprehensive and systematic assessment of health and illness in complex situations, incorporating individualized and culturally sensitive approaches.
  2. Design, implement, and evaluate therapeutic interventions based on nursing and other sciences.
  3. Develop and sustain therapeutic relationships and partnerships with patients (individual, family, or population) and other professionals to facilitate optimal care and patient outcomes.
  4. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgement and accountability in designing, delivering, and evaluating evidence-based care to improve patient outcomes.
  5. Guide, mentor, and support other nurses to achieve excellence in nursing practice.
  6. Educate and guide individuals and groups through complex health and situational transitions.

Progression Plan

View the Psychiatric Mental Health Progression Plan

Course Descriptions

NSG 774: Neuro-Psychopharmacology: 3 credits (Didactic, Fall only). Students will focus on principles of neurobiology including neurodevelopment, neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, neurochemistry, and advanced theories in the neuroscience of psychiatric illnesses. Psychopharmacologic agents, their clinical uses in psychiatric illness, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacogenomics will be reviewed in depth. Students will learn to synthesize information through a case-based method related to psychopharmacological treatment of mental disorders across the lifespan.

NSG 775: PMHNP Role and Foundations: 3 credits (Didactic, Fall only). Prerequisite or concurrent- NSG 774. The focus of this course is on the scope and standards of practice and prescriptive authority for the PMHNP. Students will obtain an overview of the classification system in the DSM-5, an introduction of psychiatric disorders, and levels and standards of the PMHNP role, including the Standards of Profession Performance for the PMHNP.

NSG 776: Psychotherapy Modalities: 3 credits (Didactic/Clinical, Fall only). Prerequisite or concurrent- NSG 774 and NSG 775. This course will provide students with a comprehensive exploration of selected evidence-based psychotherapeutic concepts, modalities, and interventions for individuals, families, and groups across the lifespan. Students will learn to integrate various psychotherapeutic approaches into a model that will guide their practice. Course content will include therapeutic alliance development and management skills, trauma-informed care, clinical intervention strategies, motivational interviewing, and the promotion of recovery and resilience. The clinical practicum allows the student to integrate assessment skills and psychotherapeutic interventions into the clinical environment. Students will apply their knowledge in developing appropriate evidence based psychotherapeutic treatment interventions in a coherent and practical manner for their identified patient, family, or group. Course includes 30 clinical hours of psychotherapy.

NSG 777: PMHNP Management of Adults: 3 credits (Didactic, Spring only). Prerequisites- NSG 774, NSG 775, NSG 776. Prerequisites NSG 775 and NSG 776 may be taken concurrently. This course focuses on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to perform advanced clinical differential diagnoses and management of adults and geriatrics with mental health disorders utilizing the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-5. Students will learn to apply the principles of psychopharmacology and psychotherapies to the care of adults of all ages.

NSG 778: PMHNP Clinical Practicum I: 3-5 credits (Clinical, Spring only). Prerequisites- NSG 774, NSG 775, NSG 776, NSG 777. Prerequisites NSG 777 may be taken concurrently. This clinical course allows students to practice the knowledge, skills, and attitudes attained in foundational PMHNP courses. It focuses on the application of neuro-psychopharmacology, assessment, and psychotherapeutic treatment. Students perform advanced clinical differential diagnoses and management of adults with mental health disorders utilizing the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-5.

NSG 779: PMHNP Management of Child/Adolescent: 3 credits (Didactic, Summer only). Prerequisite- NSG 777. This course focuses on the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to perform advanced clinical differential diagnoses and management of children and adolescents with mental health disorders utilizing the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-5. Students will learn to apply the principles of psychopharmacology and psychotherapies to the care of children and adolescents.

NSG 780: PMHNP Clinical Practicum II: 3-5 credit hours (Clinical, Summer only). Prerequisites- NSG 777, NSG 778, NSG 779. Prerequisites NSG 779 may be taken concurrently. This clinical course allows students to practice the knowledge, skills, and attitudes attained in foundational PMHNP courses. It focuses on the application of neuro-psychopharmacologic, assessment, and psychotherapeutic treatments. Students perform advanced clinical differential diagnoses and management of patients across the lifespan with mental health disorders utilizing the diagnostic criteria of the DSM-5. Students will develop treatment plans that incorporate evidence-based interventions