Psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner
||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
- For information about the field, see Psychiatric and mental health nursing.
An Advanced Practice Psychiatric/Mental-Health Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP, provides a wide range of services to adults, children, adolescents, and their families in a primary care facility, outpatient mental health clinic, psychiatric emergency services, private practice, or in a hospital or community health center. PMHNPs diagnose, conduct therapy, and prescribe medications for patients who have psychiatric disorders, medical mental conditions 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 practice autonomously in a wide variety of settings. In at least 20 states in the United States, a PMHNP may own his or her own practice. In other states, PMHNPs have a collaborative agreement with physicians, and practice independently to diagnose disorders, provide therapy and prescribe medications. Titles and functions vary by state; for the most accurate information, contact each state for the title, scope of practice and requirements for advanced licensing.
A nurse practitioner must obtain at least six to ten years of post-secondary education. 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 are 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 qualifies them to practice as PMHNPs.
A master's or doctorally prepared nurse practitioner is then qualified as a prescriber and sits for board certification. 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 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 ANCC.
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, University of California-San Francisco, 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.
See also 
- Psychiatric and mental health nursing
- List of counseling topics
- Mental health professional
- Mental health
- Mental illness
- Nurse Practitioner
- American College of Nurse Practitioners. (Unknown last update). What is a Nurse Practitioner? Retrieved February 9, 2007, from http://www.acnpweb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3479
- The State of California. (2007, January 22). California Board of Registered Nursing Retrieved February 9, 2007, from http://www.rn.ca.gov/practice/nps.htm
- University of California, San Francisco. (2007, February 6). MS Specialty: Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nursing - UCSF School of Nursing Retrieved February 9, 2007, from http://nurseweb.ucsf.edu/www/spec-psy.htm