Published on October 17, 2019 by Sara Roman  
CHS nursing statue atrium

Samford University’s Ida Moffett School of Nursing launched a psychiatric mental health concentration within the nurse practitioner department. The concentration is designed to prepare primary care nurse practitioners to manage the mental and behavioral care of patients across the lifespan. 

“For nearly 100 years we have sought to prepare graduates who are readily prepared to fill the needs of our health care system. As we assessed today’s health care landscape, it was clear that we need to produce nurse practitioners who are prepared to provide comprehensive primary care as well as mental health and social care services,” said Nena F. Sanders, vice provost of Samford’s College of Health Sciences and nursing school dean.

Millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in a given year, and 1 in 5 youth experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. 

“When we looked at the statistics, it was clear that a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certification would add immense value to any licensed nurse practitioner’s ability to care for patients,” said Stephanie Wynn, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track coordinator.

The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track is available at multiple degree entry points, but all pathways require an additional primary care nurse practitioner certification. For A.D.N./A.S.N or B.S.N. prepared registered nurses, a duel psychiatric mental health and family nurse practitioner program is available. Both tracks lead to a M.S.N. degree and the opportunity to sit for the family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certification exams.

For nurses with a M.S.N. degree and family nurse practitioner certification, a D.N.P. with a focus in psychiatric mental health is available. For nurses who have already obtained a D.N.P., the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certificate program would teach them to evaluate, diagnose, manage and provide specialized treatment to people with mental health disorders across the lifespan. All pathways are currently enrolling.

Graduates of all four pathways meet the eligibility criteria to sit for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification exam through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).