Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner


A psychiatric nurse practitioner is a master’s or doctorally prepared advanced practice nurse who provides advanced psychiatric nursing care to psychiatric patients and family members of all ages in psychiatric inpatient hospitals, psychiatric outpatient clinics, health departments, rural health clinics and other out-patient settings.

▼   Support Courses
Students applying for a new certification must complete Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, and Advanced Physical Assessment Across the Life Span if the student has not yet taken them.
▼   NP Experience
BSN to DNP students and MSN to DNP students adding a certification in a new specialty area must have two years of nursing experience in the area of Psychiatric Nursing prior to starting the clinical portion of their program.
▼   NP Clinical Skills Intensive

All students in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty are required to attend a virtual mandatory Clinical Skills Intensive session during the fall term in which they are registered for CMN 548 and CMN 551. Students have the opportunity to request their preferred session on a first come, first serve basis through the simulation department after the request is sent out during the spring term.  Various clinical skills workshops will be held during the orientation. 

Please note the dates listed are for Simulation Intensives only. The coordinator for each specialty track will provide full orientation dates:

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric (Family) NP Clinical Skills Intensive Session Dates:

  • October 10, 2022 (Virtual Only)
  • October 12, 2022 (Virtual Only)
  • October 14, 2022 (Virtual Only)
  • October 17, 2022 (Virtual Only)
  • October 19, 2022 (Virtual Only)
  • October 21, 2022 (Virtual Only)
  • October 24, 2022 (Virtual Only)

Please note the dates listed are for Simulation Intensives only. The coordinator for each specialty track will provide full orientation dates.

▼   Clinical Affiliations

Specialty tracks within the College of Nursing’s graduate program require a practice component. Although faculty assists students in locating appropriate practice/clinical sites, it is the student’s responsibility to secure a site and preceptor if indicated. Students who are unsuccessful in being accepted by an agency in their home community may have to travel to another area to complete practice requirements. Please review the list of Clinical Affiliations on the College of Nursing Web Site. If there is not a clinical site listed near you or you are interested in a site not listed, negotiations should be initiated as soon as you begin the program through the Track Coordinator for your specialty.

▼   Credentialing

Upon successful completion, our program allows the student to be eligible to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center's (ANCC) Certification Exam for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan). The credential earned with passing the ANCC Certification Exam is PMHNP-BC. Students who enroll in this program must be prepared to work with children, adolescents, and adults to ensure that they are proficiently trained to administer psychiatric care to all ages, genders, and cultures.

▼   DNP Residency

The program does not require a thesis or dissertation; however, students are required to complete an evidence-based scholarly project that results in a quality improvement change and has a substantial effect on healthcare and patient outcomes. Residency requirements for the scholarly project can be completed in the student’s home region with an approved mentor.

▼   Curriculum

BSN-DNP students complete all support, MSN specialty, DNP Core, DNP Project Planning & Development and Residency courses for a total of 69 credit hours. The following DNP core courses are required for the completion of the MSN degree: NU 607, NU 608, NU 610, and NU 613.  Both MSN and DNP degrees must be completed within seven years. The MSN portion must be completed within the first five years of the program.

MSN-DNP students adding a new specialty must complete the support courses if they have not previously completed the courses in their MSN program.  They must complete the specialty courses and support courses, if needed, to complete the Post-Graduate Certificate. The DNP core, DNP Project Planning & Development, and Residency courses are required for completion of the DNP degree.  This program is a total of 60 credit hours or 69 credit hours if support courses are needed. The Post-Graduate Certificate must be completed within two calendar years. The student has seven years to complete both the Post-Graduate Certificate and DNP degree for this program.

MSN-DNP for Advanced Practice Roles must only complete the DNP core, DNP Project Planning & Development, and Residency courses to complete the DNP degree. This is a total of 36 credit hours. The student has a total of five years to complete the degree requirements.

Support Courses
NU 518 - Advanced Nursing Assessment 3 credit hours
NU 545 - Physio-pathological Basis of Advanced Nursing 3 credit hours
NU 578 - Pharmacology for Advanced Practice Nurses 3 credit hours
Psychiatric Family NP Specialty Courses
CMN 548 - Intro to Family Psych NP 3 credit hours
CMN 551 - Health Promotion/Disease Prevention & Issues for Family Psych NP 2 credit hours
CMN 552 - Family Psych NP I 3 credit hours
CMN 553 - Family Psych NP Practicum I - 180 Clinical Hours 3 credit hours
CMN 554 - Family Psych NP II 3 credit hours
CMN 555 - Family Psych NP Practicum II - 180 Clinical Hours 3 credit hours
CMN 556 - Family Psych NP Practicum III - 240 Clinical Hours 4 credit hours
CMN 557 - Family Psych NP III 3 credit hours
DNP Core Courses
NU 607 - Scientific Underpinnings of Advanced Nursing Practice 3 credit hours
NU 608 - Evidence-Based Practice and Quality Improvement in Healthcare 3 credit hours
NU 610 - Healthcare Policy and Finance 3 credit hours
NU 613 - Organizational & Systems Leadership 3 credit hours
NU 611 - Translating Evidence Into Practice Systems 3 credit hours
NU 612 - Clinical Prevention and Population Health 3 credit hours
NU 615 - Quality Improvement and Outcomes Assessment 3 credit hours
NU 616 - Data Management & Decision Making in Complex Healthcare Systems 3 credit hours
Psychiatric Family NP DNP Project Planning & Development and Residency
CMN 604 - Psychiatric Family NP PP&D 3 credit hours
CMN 617 - Family Psych NP Residency I - 180 specialty clinical hours 3 credit hours
CMN 618 - Family Psych NP Residency II - 180 specialty clinical hours 3 credit hours
CMN 619 - Family Psych NP Residency III - 180 specialty clinical hours 3 credit hours
▼   Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) Certification

The University of South Alabama Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program provides the skills necessary for a rewarding career. Graduates are eligible and prepared to complete the appropriate national certification exam and apply for licensure to practice as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). It is the graduate’s responsibility to ensure the program meets the requirements to practice in their selected state or U.S. territory.


Please feel free to contact Dr. Linda Sue Hammond for more information about this specialty: