Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner - Family

Learn an integrated approach to addressing the needs of body, mind, soul, and spirit.

chalkboard with "body mind spirit soul" written on it

60+ Years Strong

The University of Maryland School of Nursing has had a distinguished psychiatric nursing program for more than 60 years.

There is no health without mental health, and individuals who seek mental health care require competent, compassionate providers. As a family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, you’ll assess, evaluate, diagnose, and treat the mental health conditions of individuals across the life span.

How the Program Works

  • Core DNP courses are available online.
  • Specialty courses are conducted in person.
  • Flexible scheduling includes 3-, 4-, and 5-year plans of study.
  • You’ll learn from faculty with diverse doctoral training, research interests, and practice appointments.
  • You’ll be paired with faculty specialists and preceptors in clinical opportunities for sub-specialization in various high-risk populations, such as geriatric, children and adolescents, those with severe and persistent mental disorders, and those with substance abuse disorders.
  • For your clinical and practicum hours, placements are available at premium sites throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C.

What You’ll Learn

This specialized program prepares you with the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide primary care psychiatric services to children and adults. You’ll learn an evidence-based holistic approach to treat mental health problems, building on these four core competencies:

  • physical and psychosocial advanced health assessments
  • diagnosis of mental disorders, pathophysiology, and neurophysiology
  • individual, family, and group psychotherapy
  • medication management (pharmacology and psychopharmacology).

Other courses develop competencies in health care systems, best-practice research utilization and translation, and health care quality improvement.

What You’ll Do

Upon completion of the program, you’ll be prepared to:

  • take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (across the lifespan) certification exam
  • meet the growing demand for qualified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in private practices, outpatient clinics, and urgent care settings — or as hospital liaisons
  • educate nursing students across all education levels in psychiatric mental health nursing.

Plans of Study

Plans of Study for Fall 2016 and Beyond:

Plans of Study Prior to Fall 2016:

Three-Year Plan of Study

Semester and Course Number/Title Credit/Clinical Hours
Fall Year 1
NPHY 612: Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3 Credits 
NURS 723: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics Across the Life Span 3 Credits 
NDNP 819: Advanced Health Assessment Across the Life Span 4 Credits
NRSG 785: Professional Writing 1 Credit
Total: 11 Credits 
Spring Year 1 
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-Based Practice 3 Credits
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits 
NDNP 870: Diagnosis and Management 1: Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders Across the Life Span 3 Credits 
NDNP 871: Diagnosis and Management 1: Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders Across the Life Span Clinical Practicum/Seminar 3 Credits (135 Hours)
Total: 12 Credits
Summer Year 1 
NRSG 780: Population Health and Promotion 3 Credits
NURS 810: Evidence-Based Health Policy 3 Credits
NPHY 862: Neurophysiology of Mental Disorders 2 Credits
Total: 8 Credits
Fall Year 2 
NDNP 804: Theory for Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
NRSG 782: Health Systems & Health Policy: Leadership & Quality Improvement 3 Credits 
NDNP 872: Diagnosis and Management 2: Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span 4 Credits
NDNP 873: Diagnosis and Management 2: Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span Clinical Practicum/Seminar 4 Credits (180 Hours)
Total: 14 Credits
Spring 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)
NDNP 810: DNP Project Identification 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: 11 Credits
Summer Year 2 
NDNP 811: DNP Project Development 1 Credit
NURS 834: Translating Evidence to Practice 3 Credits
NDNP 875: Diagnosis and Management 3: Family Systems for Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span Clinical Practicum/Seminar 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 6 Credits
Fall Year 3 
NDNP 812: DNP Project Implementation 1 Credit (45 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)
NDNP 877: Diagnosis and Management 5: Professional Practice Immersion: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 4 Credits (180 Hours)
Total: 10 Credits
Spring Year 3 
NDNP 813: DNP Project Evaluation/Dissemination 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 878: Diagnosis and Management 6: Integration of Practice and Leadership: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 5 Credits (225 Hours)
ELECTIVE or Necessary Specialty Course 3 Credits
Total: 9 Credits
TOTAL 81 CREDITS (58 Didactic/23 Clinical Credits [1,035 Clinical Hours]) 

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 
NRSG 785: Professional Writing 1 Credit
Total: 7 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 
NURS 810: Evidence-based Health Policy 3 Credits
Total: 3 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: Advanced 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: Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders Across the Life Span 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: Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span 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 810: DNP Project Identification 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 811: DNP Project Development 1 Credit
NDNP 875: Diagnosis and Management 3: Family Systems for Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span Clinical Practicum/Seminar 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 3 Credits
Fall Year 4
NDNP 812: DNP Project Implementation 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 877: Diagnosis and Management 5: Professional Practice Immersion: 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: DNP Project Evaluation/Dissemination 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 878: Diagnosis and Management 6: Integration of Practice and Leadership: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 5 Credits (225 Hours)
ELECTIVE or Necessary Specialty Course 3 Credits
Total: 9 Credits
TOTAL 81 CREDITS (58 Didactic/23 Clinical Credits [1,035 Clinical Hours]) 

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 
NRSG 785: Professional Writing 1 Credit
Total: 7 Credits 
Spring Year 1 
NRSG 790: Methods for Research and Evidence-based Practice 3 Credits
NURS 810: Evidence-based Health Policy 3 Credits 
Total: 6 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)
NRSG 795: Biostatistics for Evidence-based Practice 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: Advanced 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: Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders Across the Life Span 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: Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span Clinical Practicum/Seminar 4 Credits (180 Hours)
Total: 8 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
NDNP 810: DNP Project Identification 1 Credit
Total: 8 Credits
Summer Year 4
NDNP 811: DNP Project Development 1 Credit
NDNP 875: Diagnosis and Management 3: Family Systems for Mental Health Nursing Across the Life Span Clinical Practicum/Seminar 2 Credits (90 Hours)
Total: 3 Credits
Fall Year 5
NDNP 812: DNP Project Implementation 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 877: Diagnosis and Management 5: Professional Practice Immersion: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 4 Credits (180 Hours)
Total: 5 Credits
Spring Year 5
NDNP 813: DNP Project Evaluation/Dissemination 1 Credit (45 Hours)
NDNP 878: Diagnosis and Management 6: Integration of Practice and Leadership: Clinical Practicum/Seminar 5 Credits (225 Hours)
Total: 6 Credits
TOTAL 81 CREDITS (58 Didactic/23 Clinical Credits [1,035 Clinical Hours]) 

DNP Admission Requirements and Application Deadlines

Qualifications:

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in a program resulting in the award of a bachelor's or master's degree in nursing from an ACEN- (formally known as NLNAC) or CCNE-accredited college or university or an equivalent degree from a comparable foreign university.

Application Materials:

Materials/Qualification

Submission Guidelines

Online Application and non-refundable $75 application fee.

Start your application now.

Official transcripts. An official transcript from every institution previously attended or currently attending must be submitted in a sealed envelope, as prepared by the sending institution. Electronic transcripts from University System of Maryland institutions will be accepted in lieu of official, sealed transcripts.

Submit by mail to:
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Office of Student and Academic Services
655 West Lombard Street, Suite 102
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579

Essay. You may submit the essay portion with your online application. We recommend that you compose the essay portion using word processing software and copy and paste it into the text box in the online application.

Submit via online application, via email to admissions.nursing@umaryland.edu, or by mail.

Typed résumé or CV. Be sure to include your full name with your résumé submission.

Submit via email to:
admissions.nursing@umaryland.edu

Two recommendations. Recommendations must come from from sources knowledgeable about your work performance and experience. Only the first two recommendations received will be considered.

Complete this form to generate a request to a recommender you identify. After Feb. 2, 2018 a recommendation form and letter will be required.

Residency classification. Applicants who are claiming in-state (Maryland) residency MUST apply for in-state status. 

Complete a residency application and submit it using the instructions supplied on the application.

A copy of your active, unrestricted State of Maryland or compact state RN license. For a current list of compact states, see the Maryland Board of Nursing website; if you hold an active Maryland RN license, send us a copy of your printable license verification, available on the Maryland Board of Nursing website.

Submit by fax to 410-706-7238 or by mail to:
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Office of Student and Academic Services
655 West Lombard Street, Suite 102
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579

Verification of Nursing Practicum Hours Form (required for post-master's option applicants only).

Complete the form and submit by mail to:
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Office of Student and Academic Services
655 West Lombard Street, Suite 102
Baltimore, MD 21201-1579


An interview with selected applicants will be arranged after the applications are received and reviewed.


Applicants without a High School Diploma or College Degree in the U.S:

  • If you do not have a degree from a U.S. high school, college, or university, you are required to demonstrate English proficiency.
  • If you have completed coursework outside of the U.S., you must have your transcripts evaluated.

More information.

This program is not eligible for F-1 or J-1 student visa sponsorship by the University of Maryland, Baltimore, due to the amount of online courses.


Deadlines:

The Nurse Anesthesia specialty accepts applicants for the summer session only
All other specialties accept students for fall admission.

For best consideration, applicants are encouraged to have all required application materials submitted by the deadlines listed below.

  • Completed applications received after the priority deadline date will be reviewed on a space-available basis.
  • After the admissions committee file review, applicants may be invited to an on-campus interview.
  • Applicants not selected for an interview will not be advanced to the next stage of applicant review. 

Summer (Nurse Anesthesia specialty ONLY)

Priority Deadline Sept. 1
Application Review Sept. through Oct.
Interviews mid-Oct. through mid-Nov.
Admissions Decisions Announced late Nov. through early Dec.

Fall (all other DNP specialties* and Post-Master's DNP applicants)


If you have questions regarding the admissions requirements or process, contact the Office of Admissions to avoid errors that could delay the processing of your application.

Faculty

Specialty Director: 

Charon Burda, DNP, PMHCNS, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP, assistant professor

Faculty Members:

(Mary) Jan Carroll, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, assistant professor
Ana C. Duarte, MS, APRN, CRNP-PMH, clinical instructor
W. Henry Gregory, Jr., PhD, assistant professor 
Gail Schoen Lemaire, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, CNL, associate professor and assistant dean for the Master of Science program
Lori Mooney, MS, CRNP-PMH, clinical instructor
Lynn Oswald, PhD, RN, associate professor
Debra Scrandis, PhD, CRNP-PMH, associate professor
Victoria Selby, MSN, PMHNP-BC, CRNP, assistant professor

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for general FAQs regarding the DNP.

How long does it take to complete the specialty?

Students can choose from several options for completing their studies. Click Plans of Study 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 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.nursing@umaryland.edu.


American Nurses Credentialing CenterThis program has met the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s certification eligibility educational requirements. When you complete this program, you’ll be prepared to sit for ANCC’s certification examination, provided you meet all of the eligibility criteria.

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