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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (DNP), 2-Year

A D'Youville instructor offers guidance to a student in the nursing lab.

Embrace leadership roles with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Overview & Distinctions


Greater access to healthcare and a shortage in mental health professionals has lead to a growing demand for nursing professionals who have the clinical preparation and knowledge to provide holistic care to individuals, families and groups experiencing mental health dysfunction.

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) plan of study in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program allows you to expand on what you’ve learned as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) to assume leadership roles in mental health care, research, administration and education.

The D’Youville doctoral program combines traditional coursework, clinical fieldwork and graduate-level research to professional nurses who want to broaden their mental health care knowledge and enhance their professional career prospects.

If you’re interested in advancing your career as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner), D’Youville's nursing program is an ideal place to learn. Established in 1942, the Patricia H. Garman School of Nursing has earned a reputation as a leading resource in the region for high-quality, student-centered education.

What You'll Learn

As a student in D’Youville’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner) program, you’ll learn from working mental health professionals and educators who have real-world experience diagnosing and treating mental health disorders across the lifespan. You’ll be educated on the application of theory into practice as the D’Youville faculty shares their extensive knowledge of advanced practice with you and prepares you for a robust variety of career opportunities across the mental health field.

Our program is designed to foster a deeper understanding of mental health illness and issues using contextual perspectives, environmental issues and personality structures in the holistic treatment of patients. You’ll learn to apply theory to individuals, families and groups to promote wellness to those experiencing dysfunction.

Why Choose D'Youville?

  • The D’Youville faculty are experienced mental health experts and recognized for their student-centered approach that emphasizes individualized instruction and career guidance.
  • Students benefit from an individualized plan of study that is created for them after a detailed evaluation of their transcripts and documented clinical hours.
  • You can begin your study in either the fall or the spring semester.
  • Our flexible program is designed for both working professionals who want to pursue their degree part-time and students who are able to dedicate themselves to full-time study.
  • D’Youville’s nursing program reflects the our mission to educate professionals who contribute to the world community through leadership and service to others.

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements

Applicants to D’Youville’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner) degree program require the following:

  • Official transcripts from all college/universities attended;
  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a CCNE or NLNAC accredited program at a college or university (or CNO in Ontario);
  • Completion of a master's degree with specialty preparation as an advanced practice nurse (nursing practitioner, clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthetist or nurse midwife) from a CCNE or NLNAC accredited program at a college or university (or CNO in Ontario);
  • Minimum graduate grade point average of 3.25 (based on a 4.0 system);
  • A current license to practice professional nursing in New York State or Ontario;
  • A current certification in CPR;
  • Current national certification (or exam eligibility) as an advanced practice nurse in a specialty area (where applicable);
  • Documentation of the number of clinical hours completed in prior master's degree program;
  • At least two years of relevant professional experience;
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae;
  • Evidence of active membership in at least one professional organization;
  • Favorable review with a panel of D'Youville nursing faculty;
  • Three letters of reference; the faculty prefer that one come from a college-level professor if possible, and at least one from an employer or colleague with an advanced or terminal degree, focusing on the applicant's potential for success in the doctoral program;
  • A written personal statement outlining how the applicant expects the degree to assist in achieving specific career goals.

Canadian RN students must submit two licensure items:

  • A copy of original Certificate of Registration (issued upon passing of initial examination)
  • A copy of Annual Registration Renewal (showing current unencumbered license)

An applicant may choose to submit GRE scores if they believe their application does not adequately reflect their potential to succeed in a doctoral program.


Applicants to Doctor of Nursing Practice (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner) degree program must complete the following undergraduate course prerequisites:

  • Statistics

Canadian students must submit a 'course-by-course' evaluation (or equivalent) of all Canadian college and/or university transcripts through the World Education Services (WES).

Use the Online Course Equivalency database to see whether the courses you've taken at other institutions can be counted towards a degree at D'Youville.

Transfer Credit Policy

Students may transfer up to nine graduate credits with grades of B or better into their program at the discretion of the program director. Credits must be earned from an accredited institution in courses required by the program being pursued.



Course requirements for the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner include:

Doctor of Nursing: Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
Degree: D.N.P.

In the specific area of concentration:

Course Number Course Name Credits
NUR 701

Health Literacy & Population Health Outcomes

This course explores the epidemiology of health literacy and its influence on the delivery of health care services. Individuals with low health literacy are afflicted with a higher number of chronic diseases, have worse health outcomes and generate higher health care costs when compared with their literate cohorts. Students will be introduced to the social, economic, legal, political and education-based policies that contribute to health literacy problems. Health system barriers encountered by low literate individuals who seek care will be explored. Students will work in groups to develop creative, community based solutions to identified health literacy barriers.

Prerequisites: None

NUR 702

Evidence Based Practice & IT Healthcare Delivery

This course examines the use of evidence based practice (EBP) and information technology (IT) in healthcare delivery. Using advanced Internet and database search skills, the student will learn how to critically appraise the literature and apply evidence based findings in a clinical, administrative, research, or educational health care setting.

Prerequisites: None

NUR 703

Biostatistics for Advanced Nurse Leaders

This course prepares the advance practice-nursing student to apply the tools and methods of biostatistics to clinical practice. Clinical epidemiology and evidence-based medicine applications are an integral component of clinical decision-making about individual patients. Advance practice nurses need to utilize biostatistics principles to provide best practice outcomes for patients.

Prerequisites: None

NUR 704

Community-Based Care of Aging Population

This course was developed for the advanced practice-nursing student preparing to work with older adults. Traditional assessment and treatment plans are often ineffective in meeting the needs of community dwelling elders. Multiply-complex health, social, personal, economic, spiritual and legal issues, not encountered by younger adults contributes to increased morbidity and mortality for the elderly. Students will work in groups to develop effective community based solutions in cases involving older adults. Future nurse leaders will be integral to the development of interdisciplinary solutions to improve outcomes for older Americans.

Prerequisites: None

NUR 705

Ethical Topics in Advanced Nursing Practice Seminar

This course studies the ethical dilemmas encountered in Health Care Professions. There are concerns that challenge the value of being human underscored in end-of-life decisions as well as those that span the bioethical literature. Analysis of a collective ethic of organizations will also be conducted.

Prerequisites: None

NUR 709

Advance Practice Role for Doctoral Nursing Leaders

This course will explore a variety of issues that affect advanced practice nursing, with specific content pertinent to family nurse practitioners. The legal and ethical underpinnings of advanced practice will be explored. Students will explore the interaction of social, cultural, political, regulatory and institutional polices that influence practice. New practice roles such as entrepreneurship will be discussed. Identifying leadership opportunities for doctoral students will be stressed.

Prerequisites: None

NUR 711

Translational Capstone: I Identify Project

This initial capstone residency experience is designed to provide the student with an intensive immersion opportunity in which they apply their foundational preparation and identify a focus for their capstone project. The student will select a mentor to work with who is an expert in their field of interest and associated with a community site or organization. During the residency, a problem that is amendable to an evidence-based solution will be identified within the clinical site.

Prerequisites: None

NUR 712

Translational Capstone II: Design And Pilot Project

The student will work with a mentor and project chair to design and pilot the translation project in Capstone II. The project committee, which is mutually agreed upon by the student and advisor, will be providing feedback and critique during this process. The project chair and second committee member will be responsible for communicating with the mentor when needed to enhance the design of the project. The student will develop a theoretically and evidence-based program to address the problem identified in Capstone I. The student will be responsible for presenting the proposed design in writing and defending orally to committee members.

Prerequisites: NUR-711

NUR 713

Translational Capstone III Implement and Evaluation

In Capstone III, the student will work with a mentor to actualize the problem defined in Capstone I and designed in Capstone II. This experience allows the student to translate evidence-based findings into practice, to evaluate program development projects, and to participate in collaborative, inter-professional approaches to health care problems. The student will implement and evaluate a theoretically and evidence-based approach to address the identified problem. The student will be responsible for completing the project, presenting it in writing and defending orally to their committee.

Prerequisites: NUR-711 NUR-712

NUR 800

Continuing Clinical Practicum Residency

This continuing clinical practicum residency course is designed for the advanced practice nurse who requires additional clinical hours to meet the minimum total of 1000 hours of practice for DNPs. Students who are placed in patient care areas will complete clinical logs to document that experience. The total number of additional hours to be completed will be determined by the DNP program director after assessing all previous transcripts and coursework; the result of this assessment will be communicated in writing to the student. The student works with a clinical faculty member who has the academic preparation and experiential background to oversee this course. The site and setting for this experience will be individualized based on student need.

Prerequisites: None

NUR 900

Continuing Capstone Project Advisement

This continuing advisement course is for DNP students who have identified, designed, piloted and begun to implement their capstone project but require additional time to complete or evaluate the project. Students may experience delays related to organizational or mentor changes and need a mechanism for continuing registration in order to achieve the course outcomes. The student continues to work with a community mentor and under the guidance of his or her capstone chair until the project has concluded.

Prerequisites: NUR-711 Nur-712 NUR-713

Total 27

Interdisciplinary course work required for this major:

Course Number Course Name Credits
HSA 653

Legal & Ethical Issues in HCO

This course addresses legal and ethical issues frequently encountered by health care managers. Topics include the constitutional basis for government support of health care services and constraints that law and regulation impose on the health care industry. Bioethical theory, policy formulation and decision making in the professional setting are also included. Specific problems discussed include such issues as the right to health care, allocation of scarce resources, human experimentation, choices regarding death, liability of health care providers and governing board and medical and health care staff responsibilities.

Prerequisites: HSA-615


HSA 652 Health Economics & Policy Making OR HSA 648 Intro to Financial Mgmt: Healthcare Budgeting OR NUR 614 Financial Management for Nursing Leaders

Choose one elective from HSA 652 or HSA 648 or NUR 614

HSA 705 Leadership Through Communication OR HSA 670 Health Care Consulting OR NUR 613 Nursing Leadership and Communication

Choose one elective from HSA 705 or HSA 670 or NUR 613
Total 9

Total credits required for Doctor of Nursing Practice (Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner): 36*

*An individual gap analysis will be made of each applicant’s transcripts to determine what additional courses or clinical hours may be needed to satisfy the DNP requirements.



D’Youville’s Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) plan of study in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program prepares graduates to accept leadership roles to meet the growing demand for mental health care.

Career Outlook

As access to health care increases, the population ages, and the role is more widely recognized by the public as a source for primary health care, the demand for individuals with Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees with a focus on mental health will continue to increase across the spectrum of health care services.

As a Doctor of Nursing Practice (Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practitioner), you’ll have the experience and credentials to not only meet the growing demand from hospitals, private practices and research facilities, but to assume leadership roles in the treatment and education of mental health issues.

A PMHNP focus provides DNPs with the specialized knowledge and understanding of mental health issues needed to provide holistic care to individuals, families and groups across all ages and from all backgrounds.

Job prospects for DNPs

A DNP degree can greatly expand your career options, allowing you to assume an advanced role as a health care professional. Typically, nurses with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can seek expanded career opportunities in:


Nurses with DNP degrees often find themselves assuming a larger role in developing patient treatment plans, conducting research and using their knowledge to develop new policies and procedures for mental health care administration.


The advanced knowledge you’ll gain while earning your DNP with a PMHNP focus can help you successfully obtain new roles in research facilities analyzing the effects of therapy on client outcomes, exploring the stigma associated with mental illness and developing treatment for individuals in need of mental health care.

Private Practice

Many nurses with doctorates are transitioning into private psychotherapy practice as they become the holistic care provider for individuals, families and groups in need of mental health care.

Physicians’ Offices

As physicians discover the benefits of partnering with advanced practice nurses with doctorates, they are expanding their practices to bridge the gap between their own offerings and growing health care demands.

Public Health

As a valued source of expertise for all facets of the mental health care spectrum, DNPs with a PMHNP focus are increasingly relied upon by policymakers and public health professionals to address public health treatment and the socioeconomic issues associated with mental health care.

For more information about careers in nursing, visit: and

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