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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The psychiatric mental health nursing concentration prepares students to become advanced practice nurses in the psychiatric mental health field.

Classroom lectures and clinical conferences focus on theories related to the etiology, presentation, assessment, and nursing care of persons with both acute and chronic mental health problems. In addition, students examine theories related to the trajectory of illness, psychological development, family dynamics, and primary prevention. In clinical practica, students work with preceptors to develop clinical reasoning, patient assessment, and patient management skills.

The concentration courses build on the core curriculum for advanced practice. The use of current research from mental health nursing and allied disciplines supports and promotes evidence-based practice. Both somatic and nonsomatic treatment modalities are taught including collaborative psychopharmacological management; individual, group and family level interventions; and crisis and time-limited therapies as well as consultative and case management roles.

Clinical practica are individualized to meet the needs and clinical interests of the student. Sites may include, but are not limited to, community mental health centers, inpatient psychiatric facilities, special education settings, home health agencies, private practices, drug and alcohol treatment facilities or agencies, and community residential facilities.

Upon completion of the program, graduates may seek national certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and be designated a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). In most states, including Tennessee, certified PMHNPs can apply for prescriptive privileges.

Changes in the health care environment have made advanced practice psychiatric mental health nurses quite marketable. Graduates practice in a wide variety of settings caring for clients who range across the life-span. The flexibility of the skills encompassed in this curriculum allow graduates to take advantage of new and emerging roles in the provision of services to persons with mental illness.

The psychiatric mental health nursing concentration is a blended curriculum. Specifically, classes include both on-campus and online activities. Online courses may be offered through a hybrid of traditional online learning and video conferencing. Psychiatric mental health nursing courses are mostly online, with one or two on-site sessions per semester.

The concentration is typically a full-time program. Student curriculum plans of study are individualized and carefully determined under the guidance of the concentration coordinator. A part-time program of study may also be available upon coordinator approval.

Students work closely with their concentration coordinator and faculty to find appropriate clinical placements that meet the individual academic needs of the student (600 total clinical hours). While students may help identify potential clinical sites, they are not guaranteed any particular site placement. Travel to and from clinical sites is part of the concentration requirement.

All prospective College of Nursing students must apply directly through UT Graduate Admissions. All required application materials must be submitted directly to Graduate Admissions prior to the posted program deadline. To be considered for Fall admission, the priority application deadline is December 15. Please note the priority deadline must be met in order to be eligible for scholarships and fellowships.

For more details, please review our Graduate Admissions page.


For Course Descriptions, please see the Graduate Catalog.


PMHNP Coordinator Graduate Programs Advisor

Allyson Neal
Clinical Assistant Professor

April Gonzalez
April Gonzalez
Graduate Programs Advisor