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How To Be A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

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Degrees And Education Requirements

5 reasons Why YOU SHOULDNT Be a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

You can become a psychiatric nurse with an Associate Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing . However, not all psychiatric nurses are nurse practitioners. A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse , a licensed RN with an advanced degree.

Most psychiatric nurse practitioner programs require a BSN or higher from an accredited university, along with at least one year of clinical experience, for admission.

To be a psychiatric nurse practitioner, youll need to become a registered nurse, earn an advanced degree, and pass an additional credentialing exam. You can become a psychiatric nurse practitioner with an MSN, although many nurses choose to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to expand their job prospects, research opportunities, and earning potential.

Admissions requirements for most psychiatric nurse practitioner programs require a BSN or higher from an accredited university, along with at least one year of clinical experience.

Will I Be Able To Get A Job Upon Graduation

Our Psychiatric-Mental Health graduates are in high-demand. They are recognized by employers and other mental health professionals as well-trained in evidence-based practice and capable of implementing innovative practice models. Recent graduates are currently practicing in various states across the nation.

Take The Next Step Toward Your Healthcare Future With Online Learning

Karen is a Registered Nurse, graduating with a BSN in nursing in 1972 from North Park College in Chicago, Illinois. Her graduate degree was earned at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, in 1985. While her major clinical area specialty has been maternal/infant, pediatrics nursing, and womens health, she has also worked in med-surg and adult ICU environments. She have 22 years experience in a faculty role, the past 7 years in an online venue.

Sources: 50 State Boards of Nursing, University Websites, U.S. Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ranking Methodology.

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Tuition And Financial Aid

Attending graduate school is one of the best investments you will ever make in yourself and your future. While the benefits related to personal development and growth are priceless, you can also expect your Master’s in Nursing or DNP degree to expand your career options and enhance your earning power in the marketplace. Remember, completing your graduate degree is an investment in yourself and your career. Be sure to consider not only the total cost of your education, but think about how that total breaks down in terms of monthly costs, which can make your investment feel more manageable and affordable.

Financing your Edgewood College Degree

Graduate tuition for the 2021-22 year is $1052 per credit . You can expect that cost to rise in the future. Most graduate students are working professionals who take courses part-time. Typically, a part-time student completes their MSN in 2-3 years.

Financial Aid

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid in the form of Federal Stafford Loans. Learn more about Stafford Loans, including eligibility requirements and application instructions.

Enroll In A Nursing Graduate Program

How to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

PMHNPs must complete a graduate nursing degree that provides specialized training in a population focus.

The master of science in nursing , which serves as the minimum educational requirement for nurse practitioners, usually takes two years. MSN programs include coursework and nursing clinicals.

Students who want to broaden their professional options as a clinical nurse leader or pursue nurse teaching careers should consider a doctoral program, which can take up to six years to complete.

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You Might Work Different Hours

Being a PMHNP, your schedule may differ from other nurses. PMHNPs can work in a variety of healthcare settings such as hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, prisons and schools. While many nurses may work 12 hour days, PMHNPs will generally work eight hour days, five days a week in outpatient care units. If you work in a hospital, however, you may work a similar 12-hour nursing shift. Before you search for job opportunities, it helps to determine which work environment and schedule will work best for you.

Working As A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median annual earnings of $117,670 for all APRNs, including PMHNPs. While BLS statistics do not break down nursing salaries by specializations, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners reports a median salary of $137,000 for PMHNPs, making them one of the highest-earning NP specializations.

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University Of California San Francisco

Tuition: $60,482 per year in-state, $72,727 per year non-resident

While the focus of the psychiatric nurse practitioner program at UCSF is on all demographics, students have the option to complete their residency while focusing on a specific age group. This program is ideal for nurses who want to work exclusively with adults or children.

Requirements To Become A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Why I Chose to be a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Over a Family Nurse Practitioner

Before becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner, youll need to earn a nursing license and become a registered nurse.

This means earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing . Some nurses start with the Associates Degree in Nursing , then pass the licensure exam and complete the final two years to top up the ADN to a BSN while earning clinical experience.

After becoming a registered nurse, you have the option of specializing in a variety of fields, including psychiatric nursing.

The NCLEX-RN covers several subjects, including:

  • Reduction of risk potential
  • Psychosocial integrity
  • Health promotion and maintenance

Registered nurses are equipped to provide a basic standard of care in a variety of settings including emergency departments, clinics, oncology, pediatrics, neonatal care, ICU and public health. After spending a couple of years practicing as a registered nurse, there are opportunities to specialize in other clinical settings.

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What Is A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who assess, diagnose, and treat the mental health needs of individuals and families throughout the lifespan, including psychiatric and substance abuse disorders. Depending on the state, PMHNPs either work independently or in collaboration with doctors and other healthcare specialists.

Whats The Difference Between A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner And A Psychiatrist

Both psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychiatrists assess and treat mental health and substance abuse disorders and may collaborate on patient care.

Psychiatrists, however, are medical doctors who have completed four years of medical school and a three- to seven-year residency after graduation. Theyre also licensed to provide therapy and prescribe medication independently or in group practice without supervision by another healthcare provider.

In some states, psychiatric nurse practitioners can prescribe medication in others, they can provide therapy or counseling but cannot prescribe medication without the supervision of a physician.

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Earn A Bachelor Of Science In Nursing Degree

The first step in how to become a PMHNP begins with a BSN degree. A traditional bachelor’s nursing degree program typically takes four years of full-time study. However, RNs who hold an associate degree in nursing may shorten the time needed to complete their BSN by enrolling in an RN-to-BSN bridge program.

Students with a bachelor’s in a non-nursing field may pursue an accelerated BSN program that allows them to complete all their undergraduate nursing requirements in 18 months or less.

Telehealth Plays An Important Role

How to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Technology has played an evolving role in healthcare, and lately, there has been a greater emphasis on telehealth. Telehealth is the use of electronic information and communication technologies to support clinical healthcare, health education and healthcare administration. While this change is felt across the healthcare industry, it affects PMHNPs. Not only does telehealth enable patients who cannot travel or who live in rural areas to access healthcare, but it also lessens the stigma that some patients may feel while seeking help. Herzing recognizes the importance of telehealth, which is why it has been incorporated into its curriculum to prepare students for these changes in the industry.

Lastly, many of the most successful PMHNPs also have some or all of these qualities:

Learn More About Our Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Programs

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Psychiatric Nurse Salary & Employment

The average salary of a psychiatric nurse is $57,703 in the US with a range of $45,790 – $80,143. Things like level of education, place of employment, location, and experience will affect salary.

The aging population means that the employment outlook for a psychiatric nurse is good, since the elderly typically experience a higher rate of cognitive illness. Communities are also generally in high need of mental health nurses in clinics and hospitals in underserved areas.

Why Become A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are advanced practice registered nurses who provide mental health services to patients. After testing and evaluation, a psychiatric nurse will administer a mental health healing plan that might include therapy and medication. Consider the broad impact of the work of psychiatric nurses. They directly improve the lives of people with acute and chronic mental health disorders like depression, PTSD, behavioral disorders, and anxiety. Their work also reaches patients communities by increasing awareness and providing education on managing and treating these common mental health problems. Why become a psychiatric mental health nurse? About one in five adult Americans need you.

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Can I Earn A Dnp Degree

Yes! Our both the MSN and Post-masters certificate programs are designed for you to seamlessly transition to our DNP program. After successful completion of one semester of the specialty year curriculum, you complete an abbreviated application to indicate your interest in progressing to the DNP program no additional application fee is required. Either you can progress directly into the DNP program or you can take a gap year to work as an APRN before starting the DNP program. The advantage of earning the MSN degree before the DNP degree is that you will be able to work as an APRN during your DNP program. The DNP program is designed for APRNs who are working full or part time. See DNP program details.

PMHNP Resources

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Education

How to become a Nurse Practitioner FAST | Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Additional specialty education for psychiatric nurses at the undergraduate degree level largely consists of continuing education activities, such as professional conferences, in-service presentations or through professional organizations. For example, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association provides free continuing education programs for APNA members. An added option is seeking an advanced practice role as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist . This involves earning an advanced degree, either at the masters degree or doctoral degree in nursing. The top 10 Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner programs are:

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What Are The Continuing Education Requirements For Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

After starting work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you must renew your certification every five years. But before you can start the renewal process, youll have to prove that youre developing professionally and continuing education for psychiatric NPs can help you do that.

What you focus on is up to you, but there are some minimum requirements. First, you must complete a mandatory 75 hours of education in psychiatric nursing. At least 25 of those hours will be in pharmacotherapeutics, and at least 37.5 hours are expected to be formally approved continuing education hours.

Your continued studies must also be provided by one of several accepted agencies, including the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. In short: continuing education for psychiatric nurses is a fundamental part of the process, so make sure you do your research before you start studying!

Apart from continuing your education, renewing your certification requires you to finish one or more of the eightANCC renewal categories in your chosen field. In practice, theres a broad scope here, from volunteering to completing academic research.

Become A Part Of The Mental Health Solution

There is a critical shortage of health care providers that specialize in mental health services. Staggering statistics indicate that there is a great need for professionals that are trained in assessing, diagnosing, planning, intervening and treating clients with mental illness.

Help our country diminish tragic statistics such as:

  • 1 in 6 people in the United States have a mental health condition
  • 56 percent of American adults do not receive needed mental health treatment
  • Less than 1/3 of Coloradans receive needed care, especially in rural and frontier counties

How to Apply

To apply directly to the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program, you will need:

  • Completed online application through NursingCAS
  • Official degree-bearing transcript
  • Three professional letters of recommendations
  • Resume

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Demand For Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners

Psychiatric nursing was one of the most sought-after nursing specialties in 2019, with approximately 13,000 positions available. As mental health service utilization grows, health care employers will need trained professionals capable of working with complex patient cases. Gaining certifications in psychiatric nursing can help you stand out from the competition and qualify for in-demand roles.

Pass A National Nurse Practitioner Certification Board Exam

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Career Overview

All prospective nurse practitioners must take a certification exam after completion of their graduate program. The two organizations that offer certification exams are the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Credentialing Center . Once you have passed your certification exam, apply to your state licensing board to receive your NP license. Requirements vary from state to state.

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The Right Personality And Education Can Help You Reach Your Nursing Goals

Demand for nurse practitioners, including psychiatric nurses is expected to grow by 26% by the year 2028 with and additional 62,000 positions expected to become available in that same time frame,1 making psychiatric nursing one of the fastest-growing specializations in its field. And at the top of the psychiatric nursing profession are psychiatric nurse practitioners. These highly trained men and womenall of whom have earned at least a Master of Science in Nursingare serving communities around the U.S. and the world, bringing psychiatric care to those in need. Its a great profession for anyone who wants to make a difference in peoples lives. But how do you know if youre cut out for it? Here are some of the things it takes to become a successful psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Emotional Intelligence

Psychiatric nurse practitioners have many of the same responsibilities as a psychiatrist. They diagnose mental illness and prescribe medications, but they also provide mental and behavioral health therapy. This includes counseling patients suffering from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and other serious mental health issues. To be a good therapist, you need good emotional intelligence. This means you need the ability to understand other peoples emotions and then connect with them on a meaningful level. If youve often been told you have a lot of empathy, you probably have high emotional intelligence.




A Love of Learning

An MSN Degree

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: Definition Salary Job Outlook And More

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are also known as psychiatric mental-health nurse practitioners , psychiatric NPs, mental health nurse practitioners, and are a crucial part of the health care community. These advanced practice nurses are not medical doctors, but take on many similar responsibilities to psychiatrists. They focus their work on helping patients with mental-health issues including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, mood disorders, postpartum depression, and more. Psychiatrists are medical doctors that work with similar patients, but may have more specific training for psychiatric needs. Psychiatric nurses have special licensing and certification that allows them to work directly with these kinds of patients, diagnosing and treating mental health illnesses and problems.

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Find A Top Ranked Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Near You

We went directly to each state board of nursing to find, report and rank the best Associate Degree in Nursing programs and the best Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degrees.

Just as there is an increasing demand for nurses, in general, the need and demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners is increasing. This is due, in part, to the aging population, as the incidence of cognitive illness is higher among the elderly.

What To Expect On A Day

How much are Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Paid?

A PNP’s fundamental responsibilities include formulating healthcare plans, providing treatment and evaluating a patient’s progress.1 However, the daily duties of a psychiatric nurse practitioner may vary greatly. These nurses may be employed in a variety of settings, including:

  • Family medicine
  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient facilities6

Becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner requires dedication and compassion, no matter the environment.2 However, in the end, it may lead to a fulfilling and meaningful career.

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Prepare For And Obtain Board Certification And Licensure

With coursework completed, the next essential step will be to obtain the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Board Certified credential through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. This requires passing a 175 question exam covering the following topic areas:

  • Scientific foundation
  • Psychotherapy and related theories
  • Ethical and legal principles

With board certification complete, youll also need to apply for state licensure and meet all other requirements, like a criminal background check.

Understand The Role Of A Pmhnp

Once youve become an RN, the next step is to confirm working as a PMHNP is right for you.

As a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, your responsibility is to assess, diagnose, and treat patients exhibiting psychiatric or addictive disorders. The precise scope of practice can vary by state, but a PMHNP job description typically includes:

  • Provide psychological counseling
  • Responding promptly to patient questions and concerns
  • Collaborate with doctors/physicians, nurses, administrators, and additional health professionals
  • Conduct research
  • Prescribe medication and monitor its effects

PMHNPs can potentially work with patients across the lifespan, including both children and adults. They can work in hospitals, private practices, mental health centers, primary care offices or government institutions.

Mental health nursing is quite different from general medical/surgical nursing. The role is much more verbal than hands-on. Setting boundaries is important: work/life balance can be an issue for PMHNPs with patients who communicate via phone calls or emails outside of work hours or appointments.

As a PMHNP you pursue your patients whole health. This presents unique challenges beyond healing physical wounds. While you may avoid the stress of critical or emergency care, managing depression, anxiety, or addiction can be a huge long-term challenge. When you rise to the challenge, psychiatric nursing can be an incredibly rewarding specialty.

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