Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

Allen College offers the PMHNP track in response to the growing need for specialists providing comprehensive psychiatric nursing care to clients throughout the life span. 

The PMHNP curriculum encompasses age appropriate psychiatric assessment, diagnosis, interventions, and needs and issues. Supervised clinical experiences enhance learning in a variety of mental health settings, including hospital psychiatric units, emergency departments, community mental health centers, and private practice. 

Full- or part-time enrollment is available.

A post-graduate certificate program is available for individuals who already hold an MSN degree.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

The National Panel for Psychiatric-Mental Health NP Competencies includes the following aptitudes, reflecting current knowledge and scope of  practice:

Health Promotion &  Protection and Disease Prevention & Treatment  incorporate psychiatric assessment, diagnosis, plan of care, and treatment, including prescriptive authority.

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

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

Do PMHNP graduates typically have difficulty finding employment?

No, in fact, currently there is a shortage of Mental Health professionals with prescriptive authority in most communities. Allen College frequently receives multiple job postings; there are numerous positions available both statewide and nationally.

How are clinical preceptors chosen?

Graduate students identify an individual who is either a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner or a psychiatrist, in the specified area of interest. It may take several weeks for a site to establish a clinical agreement; therefore, it is vital to begin the process as soon as possible. Clinical preceptors must have been in practice at least one year to qualify. There is assistance available for students who need help in securing preceptors. The Clinical Coordinator can provide suggestions or placement. Students may also elect to participate in one of Allen College's Dedicated Education Clinics (DEC).

Is it possible to pursue the track without mental health work experience?

The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner curriculum is very specialized. Direct and applied knowledge is recommended, but not required. Students with a limited mental health background can be successful, but increased diligence and a passion for the specialty are critical.

Is nurse practitioner certification currently available?

Yes, the requisite hours of clinical and educational experiences are integrated within the curriculum. After successful completion of the Allen College PMHNP program, graduates are eligible to complete an exam for national certification. 

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