Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses Help Fill NC Emergency Department Shortages

Wake County, NC National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Report: Long waits and severe problems in our Emergency Departments

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) graduates from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing (SON) will be able to fill the some of the need to assist in caring for the overflow of psychiatric patients in North Carolina (NC) Emergency Rooms in the next few months. With the decrease in psychiatrists across NC and limited state hospital beds, the overflow of severe and persistently mentally ill patients have ended up in our ED, sometimes for two days or as much as several weeks. Nearly 1,500 patients were reported to have waited 48 hours to be seen and 200 patients waited seven days or longer.

The recent report released by Wake County NAMI describes the state of our emergency departments in NC. In response to this urgent need, Associate Clinical Professor Victoria Soltis-Jarrett reports that UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing has received permission to allow its graduates of the PMHNP program to apply for Emergency Department positions as part of their service payback for the State Scholarships that have been awarded by the State of North Carolina to help relieve the mental health professionals shortage.

NAMI Wake State Psych Hospital Delays Report