Psychiatry and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Career

Job Description

Advanced Practice Psychiatric/Mental-Health Nurse Practitioners work with all age groups, families, and individuals to diagnose, provide therapy, and prescribe psychiatric medication to treat mental and medical disorders, as well as substance abuse problems. They can provide emergency psychiatric services, treatment plans, and perform psychosocial and physical assessments of their patients.

In addition to knowing which medications to use, psychiatric nurse practitioners must also educate their patients on lifestyle changes that would benefit their mental states or help with substance abuse recovery. Psychiatric nurse practitioners must also be aware of how nutrition and exercise affect the body and mind in order to provide the most comprehensive mental health care.

Degree Options and Career Information

PMHNPs learn how to provide services to patients experiencing a mental health crisis or struggling with substance abuse. Therefore, programs prepare students to provide a wide range of mental health services and treatment options.

Coursework for the PMHNP programs will likely include classes in psychiatry, emergency psychiatry, outpatient and inpatient mental health services, and even jail health services. Some programs allow students to further specialize in family or child mental health nursing.

  • PMHNP Requirements: To practice as a PMHNP you must be a licensed RN, complete a master’s or doctorate degree with a specialization in psychiatric/mental health, and pass the National Board certification. You can then choose to further specialize in child psychiatry, women’s psychiatry, or substance abuse.
  • Work Environment: PMHNP can find employment at VA hospitals, prisons, high-risk pregnancy clinics, schools, substance abuse centers, recovery programs, sleep disorder clinics, and trauma services, as well as psychiatric wards of hospitals and private offices.