Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Role

As described by the National Panel for Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Competencies, the following competencies reflect the current knowledge and scope of practice for psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP).

According to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), PMHNPs provide assessment, diagnoses, and treatment to individuals or families with psychiatric disorders while also identifying risk factors for such. PMHNPs are crucially aligned in contributing to policy development, improvement in quality of care, practice evaluation, and healthcare reform. However, a nurse does not need to be a nurse practitioner in order to be a psychiatric-mental health nurse. PMHNPs may diagnose, prescribe medication, and administer psychotherapy. PMH-RNs cannot.

Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice

Psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioners work with mental health patients of all ages, and may specialize in a specific age population. PMHNPs can practice in a variety of locations including, but not limited to, in-patient psychiatric facilities, state psychiatric facilities, correctional facilities, mental health centers, home health locations, and schools.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Salary

As with many other nurse practitioner roles, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) outlines only what a nurse practitioner earns yearly, $107,030. This varies with speciality, locale, industry, and population.

How to Become a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Eligibility Requirements

There are several steps that must be taken to become a PMHNP. Here is a step-by-step path you can take to become a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

  1. Become a registered nurse. In order to apply to a nurse practitioner program, you must have earned a license as a registered nurse in a U.S. state or territory. Passing the NCLEX-RN examination is required for certification as a registered nurse.
  2. Apply to PMHNP programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN). These programs must be master’s, postgraduate or doctoral programs. The APNA offers a list PMHNP of programs by state.
  3. Complete 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours related to the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner role and population. This is required for the American Nursing Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) certification.
  4. Apply to take the psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner exam administered by the ANCC to earn your psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner certification.
  5. Apply for state certification as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner in the state where you wish to practice.
  6. Once you have earned your psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner certification, certification must be renewed every five years. In addition to renewing certification through the board, renewal through the state is also required and may require additional fulfillment of continuing education contact hours.
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Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs

Becoming a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner requires clinical training in various psychotherapeutic treatment modalities as well as completion of a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner education program, according to the APNA. Completion of these programs prepares graduates to take the national certification exam to become a certified psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP).

The curriculum for psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner programs may include up to 40 credit hours of coursework in advanced nursing topics and specialized psychiatric and mental health topics, and a clinical preceptorship of up to 600 hours.

In terms of core classes, students can expect to study pathogenesis in mental disorders, cognitive behavioral strategies, mental health and aging, neurophysiology, psychological development factors, environmental stressors and more. Other classes students are required to take to graduate and become certified include advanced physiology and pathophysiology, pharmacology and physical assessment.

Online Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs

When looking for an online PMHNP program, make sure that it is high quality, with interactive features such as live classes and excellent placement services that will help you get the most out of your education. Some universities offer online nurse practitioner programs that are identical to what they offer on campus, allowing students to earn a degree from a university they know and whose reputation they trust, without having to relocate to attend the program.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certification

American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan) Certification (PMHNP-BC)

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Active RN license
  • Master’s degree or higher from a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program with at least 500 clinical hours accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the American Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Three graduate-level courses in advanced physiology/pathophysiology, advanced health assessment, and advanced pharmacology
  • Content in health promotion and/or maintenance and differential diagnosis and disease management.

Fees:

  • $395 non-member
  • $295 ANA member
  • $340 AANP member
  • $290 AANP member
  • $220 APNA member
  • $340 ISPN member

Renewal:
Certifications must be renewed every five years. Renewal applications are due at least three months before your certification expiration date.

Information on the ANCC certification for PMHNP was retrieved as of February 2020. For the most up-to-date information, refer to ANCC’s website.

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Nursing@Georgetown

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Nursing@Simmons

Nursing@Simmons is an online Family Nurse Practitioner program designed for currently licensed RNs who are at various stages of their career.

Nursing@USC

The USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Department of Nursing offers an online Master of Science in Nursing program for aspiring family nurse practitioners through Nursing@USC.

MPH@Simmons

MPH@Simmons, the online Master of Public Health from Simmons College, is designed to give you the real-world skills you need to address health inequity on a local, national, and global level.

MPH@GW

An innovative online Master of Public Health program offered by the top-ranked Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

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Offered by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, this online Executive Master of Health Administration program is designed for healthcare professionals who aspire to become leaders in their field.

HealthInformatics@GW

This online Master of Science in Management of Health Informatics and Analytics program from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University enables graduates to improve the efficiency of health care organizations through the use of data and technology.

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