Our Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program offers a holistic approach that blends neuroscience with psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. An advanced practice nursing degree for RNs interested in mental health care, it integrates assessment, pharmacological treatment, and therapy for a wide spectrum of patients - from children and adolescents to adults and older adults.
Although this program is in-person, to accommodate the busy schedules of our students some courses will be offered in an online or hybrid format. All clinical experiences for this program are in-person on Penn’s campus or at affiliated clinical sites.
Significant advancements have been made in recent years in our understanding of neuroscience and human behavior and the effective treatment and prevention of mental illness. Yet, despite this progress, mental health issues are often minimized, mishandled, and insufficiently treated, shrouded in fear and shame. There is disparity in treatment across many populations, and a critical shortage of skilled mental health professionals that limits the ability of patients to get the care they so deeply need. Confounding this is a lack of diversity among health care providers who may not adequately understand cultural barriers to seeking care. This is something we are striving to change.
In our program, you’ll benefit from a holistic approach that blends neuroscience with psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. You’ll work alongside faculty and mentors to advocate treatment of the whole person, blending mind and body in the context of the patient’s psychosocial environment.
You’ll learn biopsychosocial assessment and diagnosis as well as medication management, all while deepening your skills in psychotherapy, including therapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy, group/family therapy, and more.
We use a three-semester clinical practicum, with the program placing students in settings that allow for exposure to a variety of psychiatric populations. Onsite preceptors will supervise your work, and you’ll share experiences with other students through weekly small group seminars on campus. In addition, all clinical experiences and preceptors are arranged and coordinated by the School. You’ll also have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on research projects.
This program is flexible, with full-time students typically completing their work in 14 months, and part-time students in two to five years. Many students add to their studies with a minor, which can be reviewed via the MSN Minors page.
Upon graduation, you are eligible to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner examination for the Psychiatric-Mental Health NP (Across the Lifespan) national certification and qualify for Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner licensure in Pennsylvania.