Photo courtesy UTEP
Officials with the University of Texas at El Paso announced Wednesday that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recently approved a new postgraduate certificate in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) concentration.
The certificate program will help address the critical need for more mental health providers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, said UTEP School of Nursing Dean Leslie K. Robbins, Ph.D.
Applications are currently being accepted for the program, which is designed for nurses with a Master of Science in Nursing degree. The program is particularly relevant for nurse practitioners who are interested in obtaining a second certification in psychiatric mental health nursing.
Graduates will be prepared to provide a full spectrum of mental health services throughout the lifespan of a patient in community, acute care and telehealth settings. PMHNPs provide mental health assessments, diagnosis, medication management and therapy.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to widespread emotional distress brought on by the fear of infection, economic uncertainty and social isolation,” said Robbins, a certified adult psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner, and an adult psychiatric and mental health clinical nurse specialist. “Students in our PMHNP certificate program will build upon their existing nursing competencies to expand their role into advanced practice psychiatric nursing and improve access to mental health services in the region.”
The certificate program will start in spring 2021. Courses will be offered in a hybrid format that combines online and face-to-face instruction.
Students with a nurse practitioner specialty can complete the program in four semesters. Students without a nurse practitioner specialty will take longer to finish the program.
Graduates who successfully complete the program will be eligible for certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
“The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Post-Master’s certificate program presents a unique opportunity for clinicians already practicing at an advanced level to receive additional education as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner,” said Amy Field, UTEP’s PMHNP program director. “This education will allow community clinicians with several years of experience to be able to meet the critical need for additional mental health providers.”
According to the Texas Board of Nurses, El Paso County had 33 psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in 2019. There were no psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners listed in the surrounding West Texas counties of Brewster, Lovington, Culberson, Presidio, Reeves and Jeff Davis.
The certificate program complements the School of Nursing’s MSN degree in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, which launched in fall 2020 with 23 students in its first cohort.
For information about the postgraduate certificate or the PMHNP MSN concentration programs, contact Amy Field at firstname.lastname@example.org.