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SIUE offers new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner specialization

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s School of Nursing is offering a new mental health specialization next year. The new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner Doctor of Nursing Practice program will provide students with the required clinical competencies and theoretical foundation to deliver quality psychiatric mental health care.

“Healthcare system administrators, clinical partners and community leaders are all asking for more providers to address the mental healthcare crisis,” said Andrew Griffin, associate professor and School of Nursing assistant dean of graduate programs. “Expanding our nurse practitioner doctorate program to also offer a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner option is important toward allowing SIUE’s School of Nursing to address the healthcare needs of our community.”

Throughout the program, students will learn advanced skills in evidence-based practice, leadership, policy, finance, informatics and genomics/ethics. Required curriculum includes courses on advanced human physiology and pathophysiology, theory guided practice, neurobiology and clinical psychopharmacology, psychiatric interviewing and more. During the last two years of the program, students will design and manage their own doctoral project.

Upon program completion, graduates are eligible to take the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner exam offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

The program will foster a hybrid learning environment, meaning that most classes will be offered online, but learning will be supported by four on-campus immersion experiences throughout the program. Additionally, lab opportunities will be available for students desiring more practice and one-on-one help with clinical skills. This format provides students with the best of both worlds – the flexibility of online learning with the personal nature of knowing and interacting face-to-face with faculty.

“We are offering the PMHNP in three different ways,” added Griffin (shown). “Students can participate in the program from their bachelor’s to DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice), master’s to DNP, along with a post-master’s certificate for current family nurse practitioners. By maximizing opportunities for applicants, the School will hopefully optimize future resources for the community.”

In addition to these three tracks, students can utilize a part-time or full-time course format to best suit their needs.

Due to the current mental health crisis, practitioners are in high demand, especially in the southern Illinois region. Once board certified and licensed as an advanced practice nurse, graduates are able to begin careers in a variety of diverse settings, including private practices, outpatient clinics, schools, hospitals, mental health agencies and more. Additionally, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are qualified for leadership roles throughout various healthcare settings.

For more information, contact School of Nursing Graduate Advisor Sarah Anderson at

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