The Penn Nursing Science Psychiatric-Mental Health (PMH) Nurse Practitioner (NP) program is an advanced practice nursing degree program for RNs interested in specializing in mental health care. The program integrates assessment, pharmacological treatment, and therapy for a wide spectrum of patients, from children to adolescents to adults and older adults.
Our teaching approach is holistic, emphasizing the biological, physiological, and neurological development and function of the brain, but equally important, the social and psychological development of individuals and families. Students learn biopsychosocial assessment and diagnosis techniques as well as pharmacologic management, although NP prescription writing authority varies state to state. All Penn Nursing PMH students develop skills in psychotherapy, including therapeutic theories and approaches, whether cognitive behavioral therapy, group/family therapy or other modalities.
A three-semester clinical practicum is an essential program component, and students work with faculty advisors to choose appropriate treatment settings based on professional interests. NP students are typically placed in clinical sites that will facilitate skill building in assessment and treatment of mental health problems. Onsite preceptors supervise student work, and students share experiences through weekly small group seminars on campus. Students often also have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on research projects. Accessibility and engagement of the faculty with students creates a robust educational experience that encourages knowledge- development and sharing.
The PMH Nurse Practitioner program is flexible. Full-time students typically complete the program in 14 months, and part-time students in 2-5 years. Additionally, students can elect to minor in an area of interest, from forensics to gerontology to women’s health, among others.
Graduates are eligible to take the ANCC PMH NP* examination for either Family Psychiatric & Mental Health NP or Adult Psychiatric & Mental Health NP national certification and are eligible for CRNP** licensure in Pennsylvania.
*American Nurses Credentialing Center Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
**Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner