Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Program Description

The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program is designed to prepare advanced practice nurses in the assessment and care of the mentally ill over the life span. The program is sensitive and responsive to the complex and diverse needs of a growing population of mentally ill children, adolescents, adults and elderly in acute, chronic and community settings. Emphasis is placed on the comprehensive assessment of patients and families and the provision of treatment including crisis intervention, medication management, psychotherapy, psychoeducation, and referral.

The PMH program first established in 1965 transitioned to an NP program in 1994. Today, graduates of the program are practicing in extremely varied and diverse settings such as acute care settings, community mental health centers, day treatment programs, substance abuse programs, shelters for women and children, liaison settings, and private practice.

While being exposed to lifespan theoretical content, students are encouraged to select clinical specialization with children, adolescents, adults, or elderly patients and families. Theory and supervised clinical experience form the foundation for practice with individuals, groups, and families suffering from psychiatric illness. The program draws on psychodynamic, developmental, neurobiological, and family systems theoretical models. Attention is given to issues of ethnicity, gender, race, and culture.

Graduates are eligible to take the certifying exam offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and are eligible for licensure in New York State as Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners.

The Program Director for the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty is is Penelope Buschman, MS, RN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN.

Faculty for this program include:
Dr. Joan Kearney
Dr. Mellen Lovrin
Professor Karen Fleming-Sherman

Clinical Sites

Clinical sites are available in the tri-state area and beyond and are arranged with students according to their learning needs.


Please contact the Office of Admissions for details regarding admission and financial aid packages.

Admission criteria include:

  • Current New York State nursing license or eligibility
  • Minimum of one year experience in relevant area preferred
  • Satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
  • An undergraduate course in statistics
  • A physical assessment course
  • Three references attesting to applicant's academic ability and potential
  • Personal goal statement that is congruent with program goals (two pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. font)
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Bachelor's degree in nursing from an NLN or CCNE accredited program or a non-nursing bachelor's degree

*RN's with a non-nursing baccalaureate degree are required to complete 5 credits in community health in addition to the course requirement listed. The courses that fulfill the community health requirement are N6703, The Science of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in the Community (3 didactic credits) and N5292, Nursing Practice in the Community (2 clinical credits).


For Applicants Who Hold an Undergraduate Degree in Nursing
A sample program plan is provided below to make you aware of the academic requirements of the program. Please be advised that this program plan is a sample, and individual plans of study are reviewed and approved upon acceptance to the program. Progression in the program is contingent upon meeting academic policies. The School of Nursing reserves the right to change the course offering schedule as stated in the student bulletin.

Sample Program Plan

Course Number Course Name Credits Type
Summer I: 12 Credits
Advanced Physiology 3 Core
Introduction to Addictive Behaviors: Theories of Causation 3 Specialty
Evaluation and Application of Research 3 Core
Advanced Clinical Assessment Across the Lifespan 3 Core
Fall I: 12 Credits
Behavioral Development Across the Life Span: A Risk/Vulnerability Perspective 3 Specialty
Health and Social Policy: The Context for Practice and Research 3 Core
Advanced Pharmacology 3 Core
Advanced Health Assessment in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing I 2 Specialty
Advanced Health Assessment in Psychiatric-Mental Health in Nursing II: Clinical Practicum 1 Specialty
Spring I: 9 Credits
Pathophysiology Across the Lifespan 3 Core
Psychopathology 2 Specialty
Family Theory in Context 2 Specialty
Theory and Practice of Individual Psychotherapy I 2 Specialty
Summer II: 5 - 11 Credits
Contemporary Issues and Trends in Addiction 1 Optional Specialty
Clinical Management of the Patient with Addiction: Evaluation and Treatment 1 Optional Specialty
Management and Advanced Practice Nursing 1 Core
Seminar on Family Therapy and Technique 2 Specialty
Theory and Practice of Individual Psychotherapy II 2 Specialty
Fall II: 6 Credits
Practice of Family Therapy 2 Specialty
Theory of Group Psychotherapy 2 Specialty
Clinical Practice and Supervision with Groups 2 Specialty
Spring II: 4 Credits
Advanced Practice in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing I 4 Specialty
Summer III: 5 Credits
Psychopharmacology in Psychiatric and Mental Health 1 Specialty
Advanced Practice in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing II 4 Specialty
Total Credits 56 - 56  

This page was last updated on 03/29/2012 and is subject to change at any time.

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