New Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program at MCPHS University School of Nursing

2adultmentalhealthThe MCPHS University Graduate Nursing Studies is proud to announce the new Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track (PMHNP). This nurse practitioner track is in addition to the Family Nurse Practitioner track that began in 2009. The PMHNP track is fully online and recently welcomed its inaugural cohort in May 2016.


The addition of the PMHNP specialty courses will build upon our existing successful FNP core curriculum program, and provide a timely and resourceful response to a growing market. Our central location, flexible online class schedules, and established networks of preceptors and healthcare agencies will conveniently accommodate practicing nurses to engage with the program while maintaining their RN employment. At the center of the MCPHS Graduate Nursing Studies is an active, collaborative relationship between the School of Nursing and community based mental health programs, state hospitals, and current practitioners within the mental health field. Changes in the structure of how mental health care is being delivered are resulting in a significant projected growth in employment opportunities for PMHNP. In a recent survey of 20 NP programs, it was reported that PMHNP graduates have no difficulty securing jobs with nearly 100% employed upon graduation (


Graduates of the PMHNP track will meet the requirements of the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and will be eligible to take the PMHNP certificate examinations and will be equipped to expand their role to include the use of evidence-based practice, health policy, leadership, education, case management, and consultation (ANCC).


On average, the PMHNP salaries are between $69,989 to $121,235, with a median annual average salary of $91,106.


Claros (1)Dr. Edith Claros, PMHNP Track Coordinator & Associate Professor, explains, “This is an excellent time to become a PMHNP. The prospects of PMHNPs include autonomy, high job demand, opportunity to open own practice, higher income and benefits. According to the AANP, nurse practitioners have prescriptive authority in all 50-states in the U.S.. Forbes has also ranked nurse practitioners as one of the top-paying jobs for women. continues to include nurse practitioners as one of the most sought after jobs and the best compensated in the country.” Please continue below to read more about the PMHNP.


What is a PMHNP?

A PMHNP is an advanced practice registered nurse trained to provide a wide range of mental health services to patients and families in a variety of settings. PMHNP’s diagnose and treat acute, episodic, or chronic illness, independently or as part of a wider healthcare multidisciplinary team. They conduct therapy, and prescribe medications for patients who have psychiatric disorders, medical organic brain disorders, or substance abuse problems. They are licensed to provide emergency psychiatric services, psychosocial and physical assessment of their patients, treatment plans, and manage patient care.


PMHNPs also serve as consultants or educators for family and staff. The PMHNP has a focus on psychiatric diagnosis, including the differential diagnosis of medical disorders with psychiatric symptoms, and on medication treatment for psychiatric disorders.


Recent Trends:

Data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicate that the current state of mental health disorders in the United States is common, with over 18% adults (18 years and older) having a mental illness in a given year. Common problems include addictive disorders and depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression affects nearly 25% of the U.S. population and estimated to be the second leading cause of disability, trailing heart disease, by the year 2020. It is also estimated that nearly 25% of the elderly population are affected by depression, psychosomatic disorders, adjusting to aging, anxiety that often goes unnoticed, undiagnosed, or underserved. Compounding the problem of mental illness is the associated stigma, shortage of mental health providers, reimbursement disparity, fragmentation of care and quality, to name a few. Many people afflicted with mental health problems do not receive proper follow-up, or are reluctant to seek care due to the lack of access to mental health providers, oftentimes having to wait weeks or months for an appointment.



PMHNP Outlook

The outlook has never been better for nurse practitioners! Healthcare employment is projected to outpace every other economic section through 2020, and nurse practitioners play a large part. With over 155,000 practicing nurse practitioners in the workforce today, there continues to be a need for nurse practitioners to provide primary care services.


PMHNP were among the top four most-in-demand NP specialties in the first nine months of 2013, according to a November 2013 article on the HealtheCareers Network website. The other specialties in the top four were family medicine, general medicine, and internal medicine. The ongoing shortage of primary care physicians – which includes the psychiatrist who provides primary mental health care – is probably increasing job openings for NPs, according to HealtheCareers Network. Physician recruiting firm, Merritt Hawkins, reports demand for adolescent and child psychiatric services is expected to increase by 100-percent between 1995 and 2020. Merritt Hawkins also reports psychiatry was the third most-request specialty in its 2012-2013 recruiting searches.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2013 indicates that the national demand for PMHNP will exceed 36% between 2012 and 2022, a significantly faster rate than for any other health profession group. They identify New York, California, Texas, Florida, and Massachusetts as the top five lead employers for the PMHNP. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) will bring an expected growth in demand for mental health (MH) services, as over
62.5 million Americans from relatively high-need populations will be newly eligible for MH benefits. The supply of MH care provider services is expected to decrease by 18% to 21%, and the ACA funding does not demonstrate the ability to increase turnout of
psychiatrists sufficiently to meet the needs, hence the time to provide a cost effective and efficient way of preparing the future mid-level care providers to meet the MH needs of a growing market is right (Pearlman, 2013).



Apply to our program

MCPHS University awards the Master of Science in Nursing degree and also the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (for nurses who already hold an MSN).