Family Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
As of February 1, 2011, the MU Sinclair School of Nursing no longer accepts applications for the master's Family Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. After this date, students should apply to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.
Information for current students only:
Who Should Apply?
Individuals with baccalaureate degrees in nursing who want to:
- Deliver advanced primary mental health care to individuals of all ages including children, adolescents and their families in a variety of healthcare settings
- Engage in independent and interdependent decision making and be directly accountable for clinical judgments regarding mental health care
- Prescribe and manage psychotropic medications
- Deliver psychotherapeutic and psychoeducational interventions
- Mental health care provider in a acute care, home care, primary care, private practice, public health, or rural health setting
- Consultant for hospitals, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, schools, or day care centers
- Clinical instructor in a School of Nursing
The MS and DNP curricula include theoretical courses and clinical practica to provide the necessary knowledge and skills to function in the advanced practice nursing role of family mental health nurse practitioner. The MS curriculum is based on recommendations by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in The Essentials of Master's Education for Advanced Practice Nursing (1996) while the DNP curriculum is based on recommendations by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in The Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Nursing Practice (2006). Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty focused content is based upon recommendations developed by the National Task Force on Quality Nurse Practitioner Education in Criteria for Evaluation of Nurse Practitioner Programs (2008). In addition, the APNA's Psychiatric-Mental Health: Scope and Standards of Practice (2007) are used to inform the curriculum. Specifically, the curricula provide not only core knowledge in theory, research, evidence-based practice, health care policy, financing, ethics and sociocultural issues, but also advanced practice knowledge in physiology/pathophysiology, physical assessment and diagnostic reasoning, pharmacology, population health, and role development. FMHNP specialty courses focus on diagnostics and psychopharmacology, pediatric mental health assessment and management, brief individual psychotherapy, group therapy and social skills training, and mental health interventions for families.
A sample MS Program of Study can be found for the Family PMHNP area in the green box labeled "MS Plans of Study" on the upper right hand side of this webpage. Likewise, sample DNP Programs of Study for Family PMHNP students can be found on the right hand side of this webpage in the tan box labeled "DNP Plans of Study." Classroom and clinical experiences are designed to meet the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Competencies (2003). Clinical practica settings, which are student-selected, include primary care clinics, specialty clinics, long-term care facilities, school clinics, and public health agencies. Students also may have clinical experiences with urban or rural, underserved populations.
All courses are offered in a distance mediated format. An on campus visit is required for three days during the summer before coursework begins for orientation to the master's program. Additional campus visits will be required for selected clinical courses.
Frequently Asked Questions
For what certification would I be eligible?
Graduates of the MS, Post-MS or DNP programs in the Family PMHNP area of study will be eligible for advanced practice nurse certification as a Family Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (FMHNP) by the American Nurses Credentialing Center .
Who is eligible to be my preceptor?
Preceptors must be approved by the course faculty. Students may not begin clinical hours until the preceptor's credentials have been verified. See information on the Sinclair School of Nursing Preceptor Policy.
What type of clinical sites do I need?
Clinical sites are approved by the course faculty and may be at a location near your home. Students may not begin clinical hours until the Clinical Agency Agreement is in place. See information on the Sinclair School of Nursing Clinical Practica web page regarding Clinical Agency Agreements.
Students are advised to inquire about any additional drug testing, mandatory training, immunizations or compliance paperwork that may be required by a potential clinical agency before the student pursues an agreement or begins clinical hours.
Specific clinical site requirements needed to meet the objectives for each course are described below.
All Family PMHNP Students (MS, Post-MS, & DNP Programs):
N7140 Advanced Health Assessment and Promotion - This course involves 90 hours of clinical in a primary care setting. Since this course has a lifespan focus, you need to be able to perform health maintenance exams and assess healthy patients as well as those with a variety of illnesses and ranging from children to older adults. A family practice clinic setting would be ideal.
N8610 Diagnostics and Psychopharmacology for Mental Health Nurses - This course involves 90 hours of clinical. Students will need to locate a clinical practice site where individuals with a broad range of psychiatric diagnoses receive care (e.g., single purpose substance abuse treatment centers are not appropriate). Students must be able to actively participate in client assessments and medication management each time they are onsite. Students may not work solely with children or adolescents. Agencies that are not focused primarily on the treatment of patients with mental health problems will not meet the course objectives (e.g., A fibromyalgia clinic that services patients with co-morbid mental health problems is not an appropriate clinical site for this course.)
N8620 Brief Individual Psychotherapy for Mental Health Nurses - This course involves 90 hours of clinical. Since the focus of this course is brief individual psychotherapy, locate a clinical setting in which you will conduct short-term therapy with individual adult clients (private practice, community health centers, university student health centers, etc.). The focus of therapy must be the planned short-term interventions such as adults who are experiencing time-limited crises and have no other long-term mental health problems, or adults who have persistent conditions who are stabilized but are currently confronted with short-term stressors.
N8640 Group Therapy and Social Skills Training - This course involves 90 hours of clinical. Since the focus of this course is both group therapy and social skills training, two separate clinical sites will be required. For the Social Skills training, a clinical setting where you can see mentally ill clients (e.g. transitional housing, a halfway house, or a nursing home) would be a good place. For the group therapy, you must find a clinical setting where you can run a mental health promotion group.
N8660 Mental Health Nursing Interventions for Families - This course involves 90 hours of clinical. Since the focus of this course is family mental interventions, you must locate a clinical setting in which you will conduct therapy with families in crisis (private practice, community health centers, family counseling centers, etc.).
N8680 Pediatric Mental Health Assessment and Treatment - This course involves 90 hours of clinical. Since the focus of this course is pediatric mental health assessment and treatment, locate a facility or agency in which you can conduct mental health assessments with individual pediatric clients who are experiencing time-limited crises and have no other long-term mental health problems, or children who have persistent conditions that are stable but currently
confronted with short-term stressors.
Family PMHNP Students in MS & Post-MS Programs:
N8980 Advanced Clinical Nursing Practicum: MH Section - This course involves 180 hours of clinical which can occur in a variety of mental healthcare settings. Your clinical experience may consist of a combination of individual, group, or family therapy, social skills training, case management, differential diagnosis, medication management, and/or psycho-education. A student may opt to do all 180 hours at one clinical site or divide their hours between two settings. Clinical settings for the final practicum need to provide the student with the opportunity to develop and refine psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner competencies.
Family PMHNP Students in DNP Program:
N8920 Quality, Safety, & Performance Outcomes - This course involves 60 hours of clinical which can occur in a variety of mental healthcare settings depending upon the student's personal career goals. Since the focus of the course is improving patient outcomes, the clinical setting needs to allow the student to actively participate in and be a part of a clinically relevant quality, safety, or performance improvement project. A setting in which the student only does direct patient care or staff development would not be appropriate.
N9070 DNP Clinical Residency - The number of clinical hours for this course varies (240-330 clinical hours) depending upon the student's number of prior faculty supervised advanced practice clinical hours. The clinical hours can occur in a variety of mental healthcare settings. The DNP Clinical Residency is designed to be intricately related to the DNP Residency Project, and, as such, the vast majority of the clinical hours for this course need to be in the same clinical site where the project will occur. Settings for the DNP Clinical residency need to provide the student with the opportunity to refine clinical knowledge and leadership skills necessary to evaluate practice problems, monitor outcomes, and implement innovative models of care in preparation for and as part of the DNP Residency Project.
N9080 DNP Residency Project - This course involves 180 clinical hours which can occur in a variety of mental healthcare settings working on an in-depth practice-change project that will impact their population of interest. A student must do all 180 hours at one clinical site. Clinical settings for the residency project need to provide the student with the opportunity to impact a rural or underserved population or critical healthcare system need.
For general questions about the MS in nursing program, see the MS Program FAQs.
For other general questions about the DNP in nursing program, see the FAQs for DNP Students.
Who can I contact if I have specific questions about the MS or DNP programs or the application process?
Specific questions about the MS and/or DNP programs or about applying to the MS and/or DNP programs can be answered by the staff in the Office of Student Affairs in the Sinclair School of Nursing. You may contact the Office of Student Affairs via telephone at 573-882-0277 or 800-437-4339.
Who can I contact if I have specific questions about the Family Psychiatric & Mental Health Nurse Practitioner area of study?
Specific questions about the Family PMHNP area of study can be answered by contacting Janie Bostick, RN, PhD, PMHCNS, BC, Coordinator of the Adult and Family PMHNP areas of study. You may contact Dr. Bostick via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.