zd-pixel Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Opportunities Expand with New Track

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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Opportunities Expand with New Track

By Stephanie Stephens On Oct 12, 2021

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Mental health was always a major healthcare issue before COVID-19, but the pandemic awoke Americans to the fact that even more people have mental health problems than before. Mental health costs global healthcare approximately $1 trillion each year, and COVID exacerbated anxiety and depression in people of all ages here at home.

Meeting Americans’ mental health needs requires more practitioners, and so the addition of the Doctor of Nursing (DNP) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) track at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing (JHSON) is welcome news. Students will begin their education in fall 2022, the school said in a statement.

[ Read: Nurse Practitioners Granted Full Practice Authority in Delaware ]

The program lasts three years, and although its basis is in online instruction, students will also come to the school to participate in "onsite simulation, networking, and mentorship from faculty and peers."

PMHNPs Add Value with Psychiatrist Shortage

As the American Association of Nurse Practitioners explains, PMHNPs assess, diagnose, and treat patients’ mental health issues. It says they can do "physician and psychosocial assessments, emergency psychiatric care, and treatment effectiveness evaluations."

A September 2018 article in The Journal for Nurse Practitioners notes that this career choice is becoming more popular since America doesn’t have enough psychiatrists or enough primary care physicians who perform basic psychiatric services.

The JHSON course aims to train graduates to work with patients who have "mental health, substance abuse, and co-morbid mental and physical conditions." Graduates will be prepared to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Psychiatric Mental Health Certification, the school says.

[ Read: What You Need to Know About the Nursing Shortage ]

U.S. News & World Report ranks JHSON second in the nation for its DNP programs for 2021. The publication says the five best psychiatric nurse practitioner programs are, respectively, Duke University, Vanderbilt University, University of Pennsylvania, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Ohio State University.

Not Your Average Career

Healthcare systems nationwide are moving to counter the shortage of mental health providers. This past January, California inaugurated an online Post-Masters Certificate program that will produce 300 PMHNPs by 2025. The University of California health system’s nursing schools anchor the program, which requires one year of online commitment. Those participating were advanced practice nurses when they began.

[ Read: Benefits to a Career in Nursing ]

In February of this year, Psychiatric Times added its first PMHNP as a contributor, Sara Robinson of the University of New Hampshire. She wrote later that "Working in mental health is not the average career in which you go home and share what happened during your workday…

I have found it rewarding to support not only my patients, but also my colleagues—psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and other mental health professionals."

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