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Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

What is a psychiatric nurse practitioner?

A psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is an advanced practice nurse that has pursued specialized training and education in the field of psychiatric and mental health nursing. PMHNPs use their cumulative skills, education, and training to provide primary care for children, adults, and families that seek treatment for a wide-variety of mental health problems, psychiatric disorders, and substance abuse dependencies. Those interested in becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner must start by pursuing an undergraduate degree in nursing, passing the NCLEX-RN examination, and gaining experience as a registered nurse (RN). After completing these steps, professionals may require to complete psychiatric nurse practitioner graduate programs.

Next, all PMHNPs may need to gain national certification through the American National Certification Center. Once certified, these professionals are expected to contact their local State Board of Nursing

Some common places of employment may include mental health facilities, professional associations, primary care centers, public health departments, community hospitals, substance abuse recovery sites, private practices, and emergency psychiatric units. The career outlook for nurses (including psychiatric nurse practitioners) is exceptionally optimistic. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2008 and 2018 the nursing profession across the nation will experience a 22% growth in employment.

What are the job responsibilities of a psychiatric nurse practitioner?

According to the National Panel for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Competencies, all psychiatric nurse practitioners in entry-level positions are expected to accurately and effectively perform several job responsibilities in order to provide the highest quality care possible to psychiatric and mental health patients. A major part of a psychiatric nurse practitioner's job description involves the assessment of a patient's general mental health condition. In doing so, psychiatric nurses administer psychiatric evaluations, collect medical histories, and identify issues that may be affecting a patient's state of mental health.

Psychiatric nurse practitioners diagnose patients' psychiatric disorders and identify possible mental health problems. Upon determining a proper diagnosis, psychiatric nurse practitioners create an individualized strategy of treatment for the patient. For example, professionals often prescribe pharmaceutical medications or holistic solutions depending on the specific needs of a patient.

Since psychiatric nurse practitioners work in close physical and emotional proximity to patients and their families, as well as collaborate with other staff members, providing open communication and education regarding psychiatric care is yet another important aspect of the job performed by psychiatric nurse practitioners. Other job responsibilities may include managing health care delivery systems, monitoring quality care, and conducting research in the field. Learn about psychiatric nurse practitioner salaries.

How do psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners get nationally certified?

National certification is an essential step in developing a long-lasting and successful career as a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) currently provides professional certification to both adult psychiatric nurse practitioners and family psychiatric nurse practitioners. Once certified, psychiatric NPs would be able to use the credential of Board Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC).

Before receiving the opportunity to sit for examination, all professionals must first hold an active registered nurse's license in the state in which they intend to practice. Also, all candidates must graduate from a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner program at the master's, post-master's, or doctorate level. This educational program has to be accredited by either the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC).

Once these eligibility requirements have been meet, professionals will then need to obtain and submit an ANCC Adult Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner certification application. After the application is approved, professionals can then sit for the competency examination. Certification is only granted if examination is passed. Recertification is mandatory every five years with the completion of seventy-five contact hours of continuing education in field-related activities.

Psychiatric Nurse Schools

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1 Programs in
Online
  • Ranked as one of the Best Grad Schools for Nursing in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A fully accredited health sciences institution founded in 1909 in Oakland, California.
  • Offers degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and podiatric medicine.
  • Able to provide over 98% of its students with financial aid to cover the cost of tuition, fees and living expenses.
  • Has top faculty members who are regularly published in peer-reviewed journals and books.
     
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  • Ranked as one of the Best Grad Schools for Nursing in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A fully accredited health sciences institution founded in 1909 in Oakland, California.
  • Offers degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant, and podiatric medicine.
  • Able to provide over 98% of its students with financial aid to cover the cost of tuition, fees and living expenses.
  • Has top faculty members who are regularly published in peer-reviewed journals and books.
     
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
1 Programs in
Online
  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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  • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
  • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
  • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
  • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
  • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Programs in
Online
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
Show more [+]
  • Online Programs
  • Financial Aid
2 Programs in
Online
  • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Physician Assistants in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Dedicated to delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
  • Provides a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services.
  • Offers counseling services and a 24/7 crisis hotline to students at no extra charge.
  • Gives students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
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  • Ranked among the Best Grad Schools for Physician Assistants in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Dedicated to delivering quality education and personalized attention to students since 1899.
  • Provides a range of campus experiences and services online including advising, tutoring, student community, and career services.
  • Offers counseling services and a 24/7 crisis hotline to students at no extra charge.
  • Gives students and alumni access to career assistants who help with resumes, cover letters, job hunting, and more.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
1 Programs in
Online
  • Began in 1909 as a single classroom in Los Angeles.
  • Offers no-cost dental clinic in Anaheim, where students gain experience by offering a selection of free dental services.
  • Involved in philanthropy, through partnerships with several organizations, such as the California Institute for Nursing and Healthcare (CINHC) and Shriner’s Hospital.
  • Accredited by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission.
  • Has 4 California campuses and 2 other campuses in Florida and Texas.
Show more [+]
  • Began in 1909 as a single classroom in Los Angeles.
  • Offers no-cost dental clinic in Anaheim, where students gain experience by offering a selection of free dental services.
  • Involved in philanthropy, through partnerships with several organizations, such as the California Institute for Nursing and Healthcare (CINHC) and Shriner’s Hospital.
  • Accredited by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission.
  • Has 4 California campuses and 2 other campuses in Florida and Texas.
Show more [+]
  • Good for Working Adults
  • Online Programs
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits