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Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner concentration prepares graduates to independently diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental health conditions across the life span.  In addition, they are prepared to provide integrative practice across a spectrum of mental health and physical health conditions. 

Course work and supervised clinical experiences provide the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide at least two different approaches to psychotherapy, in-depth understanding of psychopharmacology, and expertise in treating patients across the life span who are experiencing both mental health and physical health problems.  Graduates are eligible to take the certification examination for Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioners.

Degree concentrations include pathways for those wishing to obtain initial Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification and for APRNs with current APRN credentials.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner FAQs

What are the skills of a PMHNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner?
As described in the Scope and Standards of practice of Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Practice Nursing (2007), PMHNP practice focuses on the application of competencies, knowledge and experience to individuals, families, or groups with complex psychiatric mental health problems. Promoting mental health in society is a significant role for the PMHNP, as is collaboration with the referral to other health professionals as either the patient’s needs or the APRN-PMH nurse practice focus may dictate.
Where can I work after graduation?
PMHNPs work with populations across the lifespan, such as children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. They are employed in hospitals, community mental health centers, home health care, partial hospital care or residential settings. Individual state legislation determines the scope of practice; rules and regulations vary. Scope of practice is based on education and experience. The best place to explore individual scope of practice issues is the State Board of Nursing, not the physician or office manager in a practice. Contact information for individual state boards of nursing is at https://www.ncsbn.org/index.htm.
What salary can a PMHNP expect to earn?
Compensation rates vary regionally. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates nurse practitioners generally start around $72,000 with a maximum salary estimated near $150,000. The median salary is around $100,000.
What makes the PMHNP Program at UTHSC different?
The UTHSC PMHNP Program is fortunate to be in close proximity to numerous psychiatric and primary clinics in the Memphis and Mid-South region. Along with a dynamic and challenging didactic program, students are required to complete a minimum of 500 hours in direct, supervised primary care settings. Overall, the UTHSC PMHNP program requires 1080 clinical hours to allow additional broad experiences encompassing different rotations.
How long is the program?
The length of the program varies depending on whether the applicant is applying as a BSN DNP or MSN DNP student. Additionally, the length of the program may vary based on completion of previous graduate courses at another university and/or having previously completed an APRN program. Please see the links to the various program plans of study.
Can I go part time/full time? 
Full-time and part-time plans of study are available. Students should consult with the concentration coordinator about how to proceed with his/her respective program needs.
Can I work while going to school? 
The UTHSC PMHNP program is a rigorous, full-time program. The program requires a significant commitment for successful completion of didactic and clinical course experiences. For this reason, students are strongly discouraged to maintain full-time employment while enrolled in the program. Each student has his/her own individual responsibilities. If employment is essential, students are encouraged to explore flexible part-time employment and utilize saved vacation or other leave that can afford more time to commit to the program. 
How much will this program cost? 
Tuition costs are determined by in-state or out-of-state status and may change during the program. Tuition and fee information is located on the UTHSC Financial Aid webpage (Cost of Attendance). Additionally, the Academic Common Market may be available for some out-of-state students. Information on this program is available through the Office of Financial Aid. Many employers also offer tuition reimbursement for full-time and part-time employees. Students should also consider the costs incurred for travel and hotel accommodations during the on-campus experiences. Students are encouraged to explore the many private scholarship funds available for graduate study in their communities as well as regional, state, and national financial aid. An internet search of graduate nursing scholarships can unmask various opportunities. Many diverse groups offer scholarship programs; some states and organizations have loan repayment programs for nursing education. There are also federal government grants for nursing students.
What books, equipment and supplies will I need?  
Book purchases will vary by semester. Many books specific to the PMHNP program will be used in consecutive semesters. Textbooks are supplemented with electronic media, much of which is available in the library for the students at no cost. Students need adequate computer hardware and internet access. Basic health assessment equipment including an otoscope, ophthalmoscope and a high-quality stethoscope are required. Students generally do not have clinical their first semester and are encouraged to wait to purchase this equipment closer to their first clinical course. Requirements change as the quality of equipment continually advances. Lab coats are mandatory for clinical experiences, but the specifications periodically change.
Where/when do I do my clinical experiences? 
Clinical experiences are interspersed throughout the program and differ based on concentration and student background. Clinical hour requirements are identified in the plan of study. One credit of clinical experience equates to 60 clinical clock hours. To determine the number of clinical clock hours, multiply the clinical credits in the plan of study by 60. Clinical hours do not include on-campus experiences, conferences, travel or mealtime. Please remember that these are minimum hours.  Clinical proficiency may be individualized, which means minimum requirements can vary.
How do I find a clinical site?  
Faculty are integrally involved in the selection of highly qualified preceptors and the placement process in order for students to have opportunities that will meet course outcomes. Students who live outside of the Memphis area will collaborate with the clinical course faculty to identify appropriate clinical sites. Relatives may not serve as preceptors for students. Clinical contracts are required for all clinical sites; development of a new clinical contract can be tedious, so it is important to start this process early in the program.
Do I have to come to campus? 
Required on-campus experiences are scheduled occasionally as a part of specific courses to provide structured experiences such as with simulation. In the PMHNP program, students will be required to be on-campus 4 times during the first semester for the advanced health assessment course. The PMHNP programs requires on-campus time during the last semester. On-campus experiences may last 1-3 days and are identified 6 months in advance. A published schedule is located on the CON academic calendar page.
How is a primarily online education different?  
Online education is very popular as it offers the student greater flexibility with location of learning sites. This flexibility can be more accommodating to your style of learning and lifestyle. Some online educational experiences are synchronized for classes to occur at a designated time. Online education takes discipline and self-motivation; it is not for everyone. Online education requires participative learning with much less traditional lecture-style teaching. Graduate course work entails significant quantities of reading and discussions among learners with guidance from the faculty.  Good computer skills are essential. Strong grammar and writing skills are important.  While online learning can be somewhat isolated, there are opportunities both online and during the on-campus weeks to be acquainted with your colleagues and develop strong professional relationships.  Some students struggle with online learning and may find that it is not for them. The Faculty at UTHSC CON are highly skilled in online education and are leaders in using distance technology in teaching/learning.
What are some tips to enhance my educational experience?

Students are encouraged to "shadow" a PMHNP for a day or two. Learn as much as you can about the role by meeting APRNs, attending professional meetings, and/or reviewing the local and national websites. The American Psychiatric  Nurses Association (APNA) is the primary organization that represents PMHNPs. The APNA website at www.apna.org offers much information about education and practice.

Find and visit your local NP group meetings. The Greater Memphis Area APN group web page is https://gmaapn.enpnetwork.com.

Obtain a diagnostic evaluation of your learning style. Numerous online engines offer this service at no cost. Simply enter "learning style assessment" into a search engine to locate these services.  Students admitted to the DNP Program have their learning style assessed prior to beginning classes.  We will also offer an intensive review of health assessment skills prior to class beginning.

Evaluate your family, community and work commitments and prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. The program requires a full commitment. All students will have to make adjustments in their personal and professional lives.  

 

Last Published: Jul 17, 2018