Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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The Master’s of Science in Nursing Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) option prepares students to be clinically competent and culturally sensitive advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). PMHNPs assess, facilitate and manage the psychiatric and mental health care needs of individuals, families, groups and communities in a variety of public, private, community, inpatient, and team-based, multidisciplinary practice settings.

The graduate curriculum is grounded in the PMHNP competencies and includes core courses that parallel the 3 “P’s” necessary for  advanced practice roles:  advanced health assessment, pathophysiology, and pharmacology. The PMHNP specialty curriculum prepares students to be eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Exam for the Family PMHNP, and includes courses embracing a lifespan perspective in psychiatric mental health diagnostic reasoning, psychopharmacology, individual, group and family psychotherapies and management of complex psychiatric illnesses. An emphasis on the interaction and integration of common mental and physical health problems gives the student an evidence-based framework for comprehensive psychiatric-mental health care. Emphasis on cultural sensitivity challenges students’ assumptions and value judgments, and promotes critical analysis of how racial and cultural biases in psychiatric diagnosis have led to disparities in care.

Graduates are able to assume an expanded scope of practice that includes prescriptive authority, advanced comprehensive assessment, diagnostic reasoning and collaborative management of health problems across the lifespan.

Clinical Placements

Clinical sites are selected to meet course objectives and individual student learning needs. The PMHNP option promotes and encourages students to complete their clinical hours in their own communities and/or regions of the state of North Carolina and beyond, depending upon their learning objectives, interests and scholarship.  Clinical experiences include obtaining a beginning level of competence in completing psychiatric assessment and comprehensive evaluations, documentation according to federal and state requirements, strategies for the implementation of individual, family and group therapy and medication initiation and management. Students receive intensive clinical supervision by both faculty members and preceptors who are expert clinicians.

Additional Information
Suggested Plans of Study

How to Apply


School of Nursing
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Office of Student Affairs
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460
(919) 966-4260