Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) are in high demand for several reasons, including an increased emphasis on mental health awareness, a growing population of older adults and a need for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment for veterans.
There has also been a rise in mental healthcare accessibility, making it easier for everyone to receive the quality care they deserve. These changes are due to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which has helped spotlight mental health in the healthcare industry.
Given this, it is necessary to have enough certified PMHNPs to meet patients’ needs. The St. Thomas University online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – PMHNP program provides the training required to pursue a PMHNP career in as few as 18 months. Many communities across the country need mental health experts but lack resources. Luckily, PMHNPs are not limited to one work environment or capacity.
What Do PMHNPs Do?
According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), “the role of the PMHNP is to assess, diagnose and treat the mental health needs of patients. Many provide therapy and prescribe medications for patients who have mental health disorders or substance abuse problems.”
Similarly, Health eCareers states, “these nurse practitioners complete either a master’s or doctorate degree and specialize in the treatment of psychiatric disorders through psychopharmacology and psychotherapy.”
PMHNPs work with a wide variety of patients who live with mental health conditions. They diagnose patients and work with them to lessen mental health concerns significantly impacting their lives. A PMHNP will often work with primary care and specialty providers to determine the best methods for treating specific levels of patients.
Ultimately, these professionals do their best to treat mental health patients with compassion and respect. This practice involves giving patients their undivided attention, effectively evaluating patients to ensure assessments are correctly processed and proceeding with the appropriate care.
Opportunities Abound for PMHNPs
One unique aspect of a PMHNP position is the availability of jobs in diverse areas, such as correctional facilities, behavioral health programs, residential substance abuse shelters, outpatient clinics, detox centers, schools, mental health agencies, hospitals and private practices.
PMHNPs can choose the path and work environment that best suits them. This direction largely depends on the nurse practitioner’s personal preferences, like demographic focus.
Health eCareers lists six subspecialties for psychiatric nurse practitioners:
- Addiction medicine
- Forensic psychiatry
- Child and adolescent psychiatry
- Geriatric psychiatry
More facilities are realizing they need to implement mental health awareness into their foundation because of the rise in cases. Therefore, nurse practitioners can choose from various specializations to help improve mental health outcomes.
Prepare for a Versatile Career With an MSN Degree
One way to prepare for a versatile career as a nurse practitioner is to earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Those who enroll in the online MSN – PMHNP program at St. Thomas University will develop advanced nursing practice expertise and help patients with mental health concerns.
Students will learn the theories related to mental health nursing, prepare to apply comprehensive and holistic therapeutic approaches to treating clients with mental health disorders and become empowered to advocate for policies that lead to improved health outcomes.
This intensive program provides the knowledge and insights to make independent, crucial judgments with authority. Additionally, students will develop the skills needed to communicate effectively with other professionals and patients they work with daily.
Learn more about the St. Thomas University online MSN – Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program.