- For information about the field, see Psychiatric and mental health nursing.
In the United States, a Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse trained to provide a wide range of mental health services to patients and families in a variety of settings. PMHNPs diagnose, conduct therapy, and prescribe medications for patients who have psychiatric disorders, medical organic brain disorders or substance abuse problems. They are licensed to provide emergency psychiatric services, psychosocial and physical assessment of their patients, treatment plans, and manage patient care. They may also serve as consultants or as educators for families and staff. The PMHNP has a focus on psychiatric diagnosis, including the differential diagnosis of medical disorders with psychiatric symptoms, and on medication treatment for psychiatric disorders.
A PMHNP can often practice autonomously. In 27 states, nurse practitioners (NPs) already diagnose and treat with no physician involvement, and in 19 states prescribe medications independently. This is in contrast to 2008, when nurse practitioners could autonomously diagnose and treat in 23 states, and could only prescribe in 12 states. In other states, PMHNPs have a collaborative agreement with physicians or a standard scope of practice signed by a physician. For the most part, in these states, they still practice independently to diagnose disorders, provide therapy and prescribe medications. Titles and functions vary by state, but usually NP, RNP, or ARNP are used.
After completing a four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Nurse Practitioner degree takes two to four more years of training. First the individual must earn a four-year college degree in nursing (BSN). Then, the candidate must complete an approved Master's of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) advanced nursing education program which includes at least 600 clinical hours.
Individuals who already have a Bachelor's degree in another field can attend one of many accelerated BSN programs before entering an approved MSN program. These programs typically take one to one and a half years. A new training modality is the Master's entry/graduate entry to practice nursing program model, which is specifically designed for those with Bachelor's degrees in non-nursing fields. Entrants to these programs typically spend one year taking Bachelor's level nursing classes to allow them to pass the NCLEX-RN, and then go straight into an additional 2 years of training in the MSN phase that, along with a residency of 600 hours and successfully passed Board examination, qualifies them to practice as PMHNP's. PMHNP-BC is the designated title for a board certified NP.
Effective 2015, the Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is the planned entry level degree for advanced practice registered nurses. However, no state has actually initiated any laws regarding the DNP as the minimum degree. Currently, the 2015 date is simply a goal put forth by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). It is expected that current Master's-prepared nurses will be "grandfathered' into the new system and as long as they keep their certification current, they will not be required to pursue further education except the required continuing education.
There are many schools that offer the graduate education required for this profession. Notable schools with Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse practitioner programs are Yale School of Nursing, Saint Louis University, University of California-San Francisco, University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University School of Nursing.
The cost of education can vary greatly. Programs at public universities are typically less expensive for state residents than out-of-state-residents. For example, at UCSF the cost for the Masters program with in-state tuition is approximately $12,245 a year; for an out-of-state student the tuition is $24,798. In addition, programs at public universities tend to be less expensive than programs at private universities.
Current average salary for a Nurse Practitioner in California is $91,000 to $129,000 US.
- Psychiatric and mental health nursing
- List of counseling topics
- Mental health professional
- Mental health
- Mental illness
- Nurse Practitioner