About Advanced Practice Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses

PMH-APRNs apply the nursing process to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals and families with psychiatric disorders or the potential for such disorders using their full scope of therapeutic skills, including the prescription of medication and administration of psychotherapy. They also contribute to policy development, quality improvement, practice evaluation, and healthcare reform. PMH-APRNs often own private practices and corporations as well as consult with groups, communities, legislators, and corporations. Advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) earn master’s or doctoral degrees in psychiatric-mental health nursing. Psychiatric mental health nurses (PMHN) practice as Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) or Nurse Practitioners (NP). The doctoral degree for the advanced clinical practice of psychiatric nursing is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). APRNs also earn additional degrees (PhD and EdD) which prepare them to work as professors, researchers, or administrators.

Through the APRN Consensus Model, all PMH-APRNs will be academically prepared to provide mental health promotion and mental illness diagnosis and treatment across the lifespan. Areas of sub-specialty can include child and adolescent mental health nursing, gerontological-psychiatric nursing, forensics, or substance use disorders. Some PMH-APRNs specialize in the consultation-liaison role, providing consultation and services to patients and families with multiple and complex mental and physical health concerns. Others specialize in collaborative, integrative health care roles with primary care providers.

PMH-APRN titles, scope of practice, and requirements for advance licensing vary depending on the state. For the most accurate information, contact each state's board of nursing. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing provides the contact information for state nursing boards.

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