Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Allen College offers the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track of the MSN program master's degree in response to the growing need for specialists who can provide comprehensive psychiatric-mental health nursing care to clients through the life span, i.e. infancy through older adult, who are at risk for mental illness, as well as those who are in need of psychiatric services. The PMHNP track provides a curriculum that addresses age appropriate assessment, diagnosis, interventions, and needs and issues across the lifespan. Supervised clinical experiences will include psychiatric mental health services in a variety of settings across the lifespan.

Graduates of the program are prepared to provide services in a range of settings, including hospital psychiatric units, emergency departments, community mental health centers, and private practice settings for clients across the life-span. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner?

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.

Health Promotion and Protection and Disease Prevention and Treatment which includes assessment, diagnosis, plan of care and treatment which does include prescriptive authority.

Patient Relationship -including teaching and coaching, professional role management and negotiation of health care delivery systems, and monitoring and ensuring the quality of healthcare practice, in addition to cultural competencies.

Please see National Panel for Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Competencies.

Do Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner graduates typically have difficulty finding employment in the community?

No, in fact currently there is a shortage of Mental Health professionals with prescriptive authority in most communities. Allen College frequently receives new job postings for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse practitioners. There are positions available both statewide and nationally.

How are my clinical preceptors chosen?

As a graduate student it is recommended that you identify an individual who is either a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner or psychiatrist in the area that you wish to complete your practicum hours and then schedule an appointment to talk with them. Clinical preceptors must have been in practice at least one year to qualify. The college instructors/staff may also provide assistance in identifying appropriate preceptors. 

I have never worked in mental health, but I think I am interested in this specialty. What are your recommendations? 

The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner curriculum is very specialized. It is recommended, but not required, that the student have prior and or current work experience in the mental health setting.

Is nurse practitioner certification currently available?  Where would I find out more information?

Yes, the necessary hours for clinical and educational experiences needed for certification are integrated within the curriculum; after completion of the Allen College PMHNP program the graduate is eligible to complete an exam for certification. This is necessary for practice as a Nurse Practitioner. 

Please refer to the American Nurse Credentialing Center Website for additional information: