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Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialists

PMH-CNSs are psychiatric-mental health advanced practice registered nurses (PMH-APRNs) with a Clinical Nurse Specialist certification. PMH-APRNs, whether CNS or NP, have received specialized graduate level education and are prepared to provide psychiatric and substance use assessments, diagnoses, and treatment, including medication interventions and psychotherapy.

Approximately 4,500 PMH-CNSs work across the US in a variety of settings as providers, educators, researchers, managers, and more. With the prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders, as well as a shortage of workforce prepared to address these disorders, PMH-CNSs play a critical role in ensuring access to needed care.

  • Psychiatric-Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurses (PMH-APRNs) have 2 major certifications: PMH Clinical Nurse Specialist (PMH-CNS) and PMH Nurse Practitioner (PMH-NP).
  • PMH-CNSs and PMH-NPs have a shared scope of practice.
  • PMH-CNSs have prescriptive authority in more than 40 states.
  • About 4,500 PMH-CNSs practice under and renew their CNS certifications by meeting requirements set by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
  • PMH-APRNs earned certifications as Adult PMH-CNS or Child/Adolescent PMH-CNS by meeting stringent requirements and passing a certification examination administered by the ANCC from 1974-2016.