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 firstname.lastname@example.org.