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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Family Doctor of Nursing Practice

Overview

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) Psychiatric Mental Health (PMH) Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) specialty prepares nurse practitioners to enter the workplace with the knowledge, skills, and abilities for implementing the full scope of practice of a licensed independent nurse practitioner (NP). The specialty curriculum builds upon four core PMHNP competencies: advanced health assessment (physical and psychosocial); diagnosis (diagnosis of mental disorders, pathophysiology, and neurophysiology); psychotherapy (individual, group, and family); and medication management (pharmacology and psychopharmacology). Other courses develop competencies in health care systems, best-practice research utilization and translation, and health care quality improvement.

Clinical opportunities for sub-specialization related to high-risk populations, e.g., geriatric, children and adolescents, severe and persistent mental disorders, and persons with substance use disorders, are available by pairing students with faculty specialists and preceptors. UMSON’s location in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C.-Annapolis area provides a rich and varied selection of clinical sites. Graduates are prepared to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (Family) certification examination.  

Plans of Study

Doctor of Nursing Practice: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Family (Four Year) Plan of Study

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Fall Year 1
NRSG 780: Health Promotion and Population Health 3 Credits 
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
Total: 6 Credits 
Spring Year 1 
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
NRSG 782: Health Systems & Health Policy: Leadership & Quality Improvement 3 Credits 
Total: 6 Credits
Summer Year 1 
NRSG 785: Professional Writing 1 Credit
NURS 810: Evidence-based Health Policy 3 Credits
Total: 4 Credits
Fall Year 2 
NPHY 612: Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3 Credits
NURS 723: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Across the Life Span 3 Credits 
NDNP 819: Health Assessment Across the Life Span 4 Credits
Total: 10 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NDNP 870: Diagnosis and Management 1: Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders Across the Life Span 3 Credits
NDNP 871: Diagnosis and Management 1: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
NDNP 804: Theory for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
Total: 9 Credits
Summer Year 2 
NPHY 862: Neurophysiology of Mental Disorders 2 Credits 
NURS 834: Translating Evidence to Practice 3 Credits
Total: 5 Credits
Fall Year 3 
NDNP 872: Diagnosis and Management 2: Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span  4 Credits 
NDNP 873: Diagnosis and Management 2: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 4 Credits (180 Hours)
NDNP 807: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care 2 Credits
NDNP 808: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care Practicum 1 Credit (45 Hours)
Total: 11 Credits
Spring Year 3 
NDNP 811: Scholarly Project Development 1 Credit
NDNP 874: Diagnosis and Management 3: Family Systems for Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span 3 Credits 
NDNP 876: Diagnosis and Management 4: Psychopharmacology Across the Life Span 4 Credits
Total: 8 Credits
Summer Year 3
NDNP 875: Diagnosis and Management 3: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 2 Credits
Fall Year 4
NDNP 812: Scholarly Project Implementation 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 877: Diagnosis and Management 5: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 4 Credits (180 Hours)
NDNP 814: Practice Leadership Within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems 3 Credits
NDNP 817: Practice Leadership Within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems Clinical Practicum 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 10 Credits
Spring Year 4
NDNP 813: Scholarly Project Evaluation/Dissemination 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 878: Diagnosis and Management 6: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 5 Credits (225 Hours)
ELECTIVE or Necessary Specialty Course 3 Credits
Total: 9 Credits
TOTAL 80 CREDITS (57 Didactic/23 Clinical Credits [1,035 Clinical Hours]) 

Doctor of Nursing Practice: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner-Family (Five Year) Plan of Study

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Fall Year 1
NRSG 780: Health Promotion and Population Health 3 Credits 
NRSG 782: Health Systems & Health Policy: Leadership & Quality Improvement 3 Credits 
Total: 6 Credits 
Spring Year 1 
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
NRSG 785: Professional Writing 1 Credit
Total: 7 Credits
Summer Year 1 
NDNP 804: Theory for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
Total: 3 Credits
Fall Year 2 
NDNP 807: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care 2 Credits
NDNP 808: Information Systems and Technology Improvement/Transformation Health Care Practicum 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NURS 810: Evidence-based Health Policy 3 Credits
Total: 6 Credits
Spring Year 2 
NURS 834: Translating Evidence to Practice 3 Credits
ELECTIVE or Necessary Specialty Course 3 Credits
Total: 6 Credits
Summer Year 2 
NDNP 814: Practice Leadership within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems 3 Credits 
NDNP 817: Practice Leadership within Complex Adaptive Health Care Systems Clinical Practicum 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 5 Credits
Fall Year 3 
NPHY 612: Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3 Credits 
NURS 723: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Across the Life Span 3 Credits
NDNP 819: Health Assessment Across the Life Span 4 Credits
Total: 10 Credits
Spring Year 3 
NDNP 870: Diagnosis and Management 1: Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders Across the Life Span 3 Credits 
NDNP 871: Diagnosis and Management 1: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
Total: 6 Credits
Summer Year 3
NPHY 862: Neurophysiology of Mental Disorders 2 Credits
Total: 2 Credits
Fall Year 4
NDNP 872: Diagnosis and Management 2: Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span 4 Credits
NDNP 873: Diagnosis and Management 2: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
Total: 7 Credits
Spring Year 4
NDNP 874: Diagnosis and Management 3: Family Systems for Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span 3 Credits
NDNP 876: Diagnosis and Management 4: Psychopharmacology Across the Life Span 4 Credits
Total: 7 Credits
Summer Year 4
NDNP 811: Scholarly Project Development 1 Credit
NDNP 875: Diagnosis and Management 3: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 4 Credits
Total: 5 Credits
Fall Year 5
NDNP 812: Scholarly Project Implementation 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 877: Diagnosis and Management 5: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 2 Credits (180 Hours)
Total: 3 Credits
Spring Year 5
NDNP 813: Scholarly Project Evaluation/Dissemination 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 878: Diagnosis and Management 6: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 5 Credits (225 Hours)
Total: 6 Credits
TOTAL 80 CREDITS (57 Didactic/23 Clinical Credits [1,035 Clinical Hours]) 

Faculty

Specialty Director: 

Charon Burda, MS, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP, assistant professor

Faculty Members:

(Mary) Jan Carroll, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, clinical instructor
Ana C. Duarte, MS, RN, PMHNP-BC, clinical instructor
Jeanne Geiger-Brown, PhD, RN, FAAN, associate professor and assistant dean of research
W. Henry Gregory, Jr., PhD, assistant professor 
Gail Schoen Lemaire, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, CNL, associate professor, director, CNL program
Sarah Miller, MS, RN PMHNP-BC, clinical instructor
Lynn Oswald, PhD, RN, associate professor
Victoria Selby, MSN, RN, PMHNP-BC, clinical instructor 

FAQs

Click here for general FAQs regarding the DNP.

Specialty Specific FAQs

How long does it take to complete the specialty?

Students can choose from several options for completing their studies. Click the Sample Plans of Study tab to view each of the different options.

What type of nursing experience should applicants have?  

It is strongly recommended that applicants are currently working in the area of psychiatry with at least one year of experience in an inpatient setting and that they are certified in Psychiatric–Mental Health Nursing (RN-BC credential). Membership and participation in the professional specialty organization, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, is also recommended.

How much hands-on clinical time will need to be completed?

The minimum number of practicum hours required for the DNP degree is 1,000 hours. For UMSON graduates to be eligible for their respective board certification exams, they must complete the DNP degree. Refer to the plans of study for the number of clinical hours required each semester.

Do students have to find their own preceptor or clinical site?  Can they do their clinical rotations where they work? 

Students are not required to find their own preceptor or clinical site. The UMSON faculty is committed to assigning students to clinical sites that are appropriate for course and program objectives. We are fortunate to have contacts with many nurse practitioner alumni and other providers who serve as preceptors. UMSON has clinical contracts with agencies in a variety of settings across the state of Maryland and Washington, D.C.  Students with a particular clinical site/preceptor of interest may forward the contact information to the course faculty member so the faculty member can determine whether the site is appropriate to meet the course objectives. Faculty members must approve any student-suggested site.

Students have completed practica at emergency services and rehabilitation facilities, as well as a variety of private practices, community and non-profit behavioral health organizations, mobile and home treatment centers, military installations, substance abuse centers, and after-hours urgent care and crisis clinics. Preceptors include psychiatric nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists, psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and licensed social workers and counselors. Clinical hours vary by site and are typically completed during regular business hours. However, there may be instances when students attend clinical time after-hours and/or on weekends. Clinical experiences are designed to give students exposure to patients across the life span, from children to geriatric.

Students should not complete their clinical rotations in the specific environments where they are employed due to a potential conflict of interest. Final approval of clinical site placement is at the faculty member’s discretion. 

Where can graduates work? What is the job market like for graduates of this specialty?

PMH Nurse Practitioners are well-respected health care professionals and they are in very high demand. Graduates from this specialty work in areas similar to those where they gained clinical experience: private practice, mobile, hospital, and clinical settings are representative of the varied work environments where PMHNPs readily find jobs. Our students typically secure employment well within the first three to six months of graduating and, in many cases, are offered positions prior to graduation by the clinical site where they attended final practicum. In 2011, our specialty was ranked #7 nationally by U.S.News and World Report, and we are currently the only psychiatric nurse practitioner specialty in the state of Maryland. Our graduates are very well prepared academically. Their pass rates for the ANCC board certification exam are above the national average, enabling them to confidently embark on their careers and immediately begin to help improve access to care.

Is there anything else I can do to strengthen my application?

Many variables are taken into consideration when reviewing a student’s application for admission. A strong foundation in courses such as anatomy and physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, and physical assessment is one key to success. Writing and grammar skills are also critically important for graduate-level education. Taking a writing course, particularly a technical writing course, may be of assistance. You may take these courses at a university of your preference. In addition, an applicant’s involvement in professional and organizational activities, as well as other scholarly activities, is evidence of leadership capabilities and interests. Current clinical experience is ideal and completion of certification in your specialty area is strongly recommended. We highly recommend that you spend several hours shadowing an advanced practice nurse in the specialty you wish to pursue. 

How can I get additional information?

For more information regarding admissions to this specialty, please contact the UMSON Admissions Office at: 410-706-0501, option #2 or admissions@son.umaryland.edu.

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