Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner PMHNP Success, Outlook, and Professional Development

Success, Prospects, and Professional Advancement of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs)

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), classified as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) within the APRN Consensus Model, plays a vital role among nurse practitioners (NPs). Focused on mental health, PMHNPs engage in community-related activities such as assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, distinguishing themselves within the APRN roles, which include certified nurse midwife (CNM), certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), and clinical nurse specialist (CNS) (Registered, 2019). Explore the success, outlook, and ongoing professional development of PMHNPs in their specialized field.

Certainly, all APRN specialties play crucial roles in ensuring the well-being of communities. A comparison can be drawn between the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialty and the Adult-Gerontology APRN specialization, which focuses on the health issues of individuals spanning adolescence to old age. While the Adult-Gerontology APRN holistically addresses the health needs of various age groups, the PMHNP provides comprehensive mental health care across the entire lifespan. With specialized training, PMHNPs at Walden University, accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), are well-prepared for these responsibilities (Walden University, 2019). Explore the success, outlook, and continuous professional development of PMHNPs in the field.

Justification for Choosing Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty

Similar to other specialties within the APRN domain, becoming a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) requires advanced education at the postgraduate level and the attainment of comprehensive clinical competency before certification. The role of a PMHNP is particularly fulfilling, especially in states that grant autonomous full practice authority to nurse practitioners. With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, which expanded mental health care coverage, the demand for PMHNPs has surged. This surge, coupled with the autonomy PMHNPs enjoy, especially at the primary health care level, positions them to provide holistic mental health care, meeting the increasing demand for their services.

The PMHNP’s responsibilities include psychiatric diagnoses, health assessments, treatment planning, medication prescription, counseling, interprofessional collaboration, patient education, mental health advocacy, and community outreach. The projected 20% growth in demand for PMHNPs by 2020 emphasizes their crucial role in various settings such as mental health clinics, correctional facilities, private practices, schools, and community mental health centers. Explore the success, outlook, and continuous professional development of PMHNPs in diverse healthcare environments.

The comprehensive training provided to Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) is a key factor attracting professionals to this specialty. PMHNP training covers a wide range of areas, including mental health disorders across various age groups, mental health statistics, evidence-based interventions, social determinants of health, and the principles of social justice in mental health care access. Additionally, PMHNP certification, conducted by the esteemed American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), involves rigorous requirements such as possessing a graduate degree, a valid registered nurse license, and a minimum of 500 supervised clinical hours. With certification renewable every five years, PMHNPs can practice with confidence, free from the concern of yearly recertification. Explore the success, outlook, and ongoing professional development of PMHNPs in the dynamic field of psychiatric-mental health care.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) as the Appropriate Professional Body for the PMHNP

Founded in 1986, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) serves as a unifying platform for registered psychiatric-mental health nurses, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among its 13,500 members nationwide. The APNA embraces inclusivity, welcoming members with various educational backgrounds, from associate degrees to Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). To join, individuals can initiate the process by contacting the organization through email, followed by completing registration forms and payment of the annual or monthly membership fee. As a pivotal professional organization for mental health nurses, the APNA offers a spectrum of resources, including continuous professional education opportunities, position papers on mental health advocacy, scholarships, and networking prospects with fellow professionals.

Members stay informed through the monthly APNA News: The Psychiatric Nursing Voice and contribute to the field through the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (JAPNA), which features peer-reviewed papers from both members and external experts. The annual APNA Conference serves as a dynamic forum for the entire membership, facilitating discussions on crucial practice and research issues within the realm of psychiatric-mental health nursing. Discover the myriad benefits and opportunities for professional development offered by the APNA in the success and outlook of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs).


American Psychiatric Nurses Association [APNA] (2019). Membership, community, education, and resources. Retrieved 27 October will 2019 from

Nurse Practitioner Schools (2019). What is a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). Retrieved 26 October 2019 from

Phoenix, B.J., Hurd, M., & Chapman, S.A. (2016). Experience of psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners in public mental health. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 40(3), 212–224. Doi: DOI: 10.1097/NAQ.0000000000000171

Registered (2019, July 24 9). Advanced practice registered nurse (APRN). Retrieved 26 October 2019 from

Walden University (2019). Master of science in nursing (MSN) – Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner. Retrieved 27 October 2019 from Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner PMHNP Success, Outlook, and Professional Development

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