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School of NursingPsychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is an advanced practice nursing role. Graduate education prepares the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) to become a licensed independent health care provider with prescriptive authority. The PMHNP provides mental health care throughout the lifespan. This program provides the knowledge, skills, values and experience to assume the role of PMHNP in a variety of settings. Preparation includes content necessary to provide psychotherapy to individuals, families and groups within hospitals and community settings. This role incorporates skills to:

  • Assess, diagnose and treat individuals and families with mental health challenges or psychiatric illnesses
  • Identify risk factors for psychiatric illness
  • Contribute to policy development, quality improvement, practice evaluation and healthcare reform

Completion of a graduate nursing program allows for certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (AACN) to obtain a PMHNP certification which is required to obtain a state license to practice.




Frequently Asked Questions

Is the program online?

The PMHNP is offered as a distance learning program and is primarily online, the content is delivered in various formats including online content and video streamed lectures. Students will access course presentation and material via the online platform Canvas. Some courses offered may include attendance at a live lecture via video stream - most of these classes are on Thursdays. Additionally, students do have an onsite requirement usually once a semester.

How are PMHNP clinical experience coordinated?

The PMHNP specialty requires 504 clinical hours. The faculty work together to locate clinical placements and obtain appropriate agreements at various sites. The PMHNP cares for persons across the lifespan. Therefore, clinical rotations will include child/adolescent and geriatric specific practices as well as adult inpatient and outpatient care. Students are encouraged to begin to identify potential clinical sites for these experiences prior to the beginning of the program.

Can students have clinical rotations outside of Virginia?

Yes, if the site and preceptors are approved by the faculty, and are in States adhering to the National Council for State Authorization of Reciprocity Agreements (See SARA website for further information regarding your state). Site visits are made each semester by faculty, decisions on how far away the student can do their clinical experience is made on a case by case basis.

How much course work is involved in an online course?

For each credit hour of course work, it is recommended that you study 3-6 hours per week. The amount of time devoted to online activities such as chats, discussions, conferencing, library literature searches, etc. depends on the structure of the individual course. Some courses have weekly requirements while some courses have activities scheduled at intervals.

What courses will I be taking in the program?

The basic MSN curriculum offered at ODU, including program of study schedules, outline of courses by semester and course description can be found here.