Advance your skills and training to provide care for patients with psychiatric disorders, medical organic brain disorders, and substance abuse problems with our Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner MSN specialization.
In this track, you will complete your BSN degree first, including some master’s level core courses, general education, and elective courses. Once you meet these requirements, you will apply and be admitted into the MSN program and can begin the core courses for the MSN.
If you already hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), see the BSN Track.
Start dates are offered each quarter so you can begin your program when it is convenient for you. Enrollment in this nurse practitioner specialization is currently open to new students.
This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.
|Course Code||NURS 3100||Course||Issues and Trends in Nursing||Credits||(6 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 3020||Course||Health Assessment||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 3150||Course||Foundations of Nursing Research||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 4115||Course||Role of the Nurse—Public and Global Health||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 5052||Course||Essentials of Evidence-Based Practice||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 4005||Course||Topics in Clinical Nursing||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 4210||Course||Role of the Nurse Leader in Population Health||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 4220||Course||Leadership Competencies in Nursing and Healthcare||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 6002/6003||Course||Foundations for Graduate Study||Credits||(3 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 5050||Course||Policy and Advocacy for Improving Population Health||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 5051||Course||Transforming Nursing and Healthcare Through Technology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
In this course, students are provided with an overview of the evolution of nursing as a profession and introduced to their new role as scholar-practitioners. They examine changes in the U.S. healthcare delivery system, the importance of information technology, and measures that promote quality, safety, and better health outcomes in patient care. Students consider major issues and trends in contemporary nursing and healthcare practice, including the influence of socioeconomic, ethical, legal, and political variables and professional values. Through weekly discussions and assignments, students explore and share personal experiences in the context of contemporary nursing issues, such as the nursing shortage, workforce challenges, healthcare financing, professional organizations, and diversity. They are challenged to examine and propose solutions to these nursing issues in addition to those in their workplace. Students reflect on Walden's mission of social change and its impact on their future nursing practice as a scholar-practitioner. Because this is the first nursing course within the RN/BSN program, students learn to use Walden University's resources to enhance writing skills. Students are also introduced to the tools essential to success at Walden.
Through this course, students have the opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills required to collect data related to assessment of individual health status. They learn the physical examination skills of inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation used to assess major body systems across the lifespan. They gain practical experience using interviewing techniques and communication skills for taking patient histories, and they discuss the psychological, social, and cultural aspects of clinical assessment. Additionally, students consider the integration of data to guide the nursing process and ethical guidelines. Engaging in interactive simulations, students apply knowledge and demonstrate understanding of conducting health assessments. NURS 3100 or 3000.)
Nurses must understand research in order to effectively participate in the provision of evidence-based nursing care. Students in this course learn the foundational elements of the research process, refine information literacy skills, and develop an understanding of ethical research. Students investigate each step of the research process and complete a critical examination of quantitative and qualitative research relevant to their nursing practice. Students are given the tools to analyze nurse-sensitive indicators and clinical practice guidelines.
Students in this course will widen their perspectives related to promoting health and preventing disease as they examine health issues that transcend national borders, class, race, ethnicity, and culture. Students evaluate the role of the nurse in preserving and promoting health among diverse populations as well as the role in illness prevention and health promotion, protection, and maintenance of targeted populations. They also explore principles of epidemiology and the influencing sociopolitical factors that impact health and well-being of humankind. Students engage in assignments designed to provide practical application of content on topical issues, such as infant mortality rates in the United States and abroad, infectious or communicable disease, and implications of global climate change on health, among others. Finally, students consider and reflect on the nurse's role as a leader in promoting positive social change in transforming the health of populations in the world.
Nurses base practice on sound and tested evidence to ensure the safety, high quality, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. In this course, students have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the development and relationship of nursing theory, research, and practice. Through a variety of online activities and coursework, students explore the role of nursing theory in both research and practice. They examine research literature to differentiate and critique various research designs, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method models; appraise statistical data; and analyze evidence. Acquired knowledge helps students critically evaluate research to make decisions about use of findings to enhance practice.
Nurses play a critical role in the care of patients with major acute and chronic health problems. They are accountable for clinical outcomes and for promoting quality and safety in patient care through the use of information technology. Students in this course will examine their role in the evaluation of nurse-sensitive indicators, standards, and core measures to develop an evidence-based practice approach to care. Students explore the relationship of genetics and genomics to health and illness as well as infection-control issues. The nurse's role in palliative and end-of-life care and complementary and alternative therapies is also explored. Students apply course concepts and demonstrate an understanding of nursing interventions and agency policy to improve nursing practice. NURS 4000.)
Students in this course focus on application of theories and concepts from nursing and public health sciences in assessing health status, preventing and controlling disease, and promoting a healthier population by working with families, aggregates, communities, and healthcare systems. Students apply system thinking by using epidemiological and community assessment techniques to examine at-risk populations, health promotion, and levels of prevention with special emphasis on ethnically diverse and vulnerable populations. Major local, state, and national health issues are considered, including communicable disease, chronic illness, environmental and occupational health, bioterrorism, emergency and disaster preparedness and response. Practice experiences provide learning experiences in population-based health promotion by collaborating with interdisciplinary public health partners in a local community.(1 credit of practicum equates to 72 clock hours of student practice experience hours.)
Contemporary nurses who wish to influence the current healthcare system must equip themselves with the knowledge and competencies to lead in times of pressure, constant change, and innovation. Quality Improvement science provides a rich set of tools and techniques and has been adopted by most nursing leaders. Nurses are expected to lead with quality improvement knowledge and competencies. Students in this course work toward gaining these skills by focusing on real practice problems and developing evidence-based solutions. They also learn skills and techniques in team building; strengthening interpersonal, communication, and interdisciplinary collaboration; promoting meaningful use of data to gauge improvements and problem solving; translating day to day practice problems to long term strategy for organizational growth; and identify strategies to manage organizational change. Students apply course concepts through case studies. Through this practice experience, students gain professional knowledge from nursing leaders in practice the application of quality improvement science. (1 credit of practicum equates to 72 clock hours of student practice experience hours.)
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. Students receive a foundation for the student’s academic and professional success as scholar-practitioners and social change agents. Course assignments focus on introducing students to resources that support success, development of graduate-level writing skills and use of APA, academic integrity, and the development of a professional development plan based on the student’s chosen specialization.
In today's rapidly changing healthcare delivery system, decisions made within the political arena impact the future of healthcare systems and the populations that healthcare professionals serve. In this course, students examine healthcare reform and its impact on healthcare delivery, population health, and nursing practice. They evaluate policies that influence the structure, financing, and quality in healthcare and examine healthcare delivery from a global perspective. Through discussions, case studies, and other activities, students examine the effects of legal and regulatory processes on nursing practice, healthcare delivery, and population health outcomes. Students also examine ways to advocate for promotion and preservation of population health and gain the necessary skills to influence policy and support changes effected by the passing of new healthcare reform legislation.
Evidence-based practice is an essential nurse competency that supports the provision of effective and efficient care. Through team projects and individual applications, students learn how to organize, evaluate, and use health information and knowledge to critically appraise and use information technology to enhance evidence-based practice. Students also apply evidence-based practice to improve advanced nursing practice and healthcare outcomes across organization, public-health, and consumer-health settings.
|Course Code||NURS 6053||Course||Interprofessional Organizational and Systems Leadership||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 6501||Course||Advanced Pathophysiology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 6521||Course||Advanced Pharmacology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 6512||Course||Advanced Health Assessment and Diagnostic Reasoning||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 6630||Course||Psychopharmacologic Approaches to Treatment of Psychopathology||Credits||(5 cr.)|
|Course Code||NURS 6640||Course||Psychotherapy With Individuals||Credits||(5 cr.: 3 cr. didactic, 2 cr. practicum)|
|Course Code||NURS 6650||Course||Psychotherapy With Groups and Families||Credits||(5 cr.: 3 cr. didactic, 2 cr. practicum)|
|Course Code||NURS 6660||Course||Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Role I: Child and Adolescent||Credits||(5 cr.: 3 cr. didactic, 2 cr. practicum)|
|Course Code||NURS 6670||Course||Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Role II: Adults and Older Adults||Credits||(5 cr.: 3 cr. didactic, 2 cr. practicum)|
Students in this course will develop leadership skills to transform nursing and adapt organizations in response to the turbulent healthcare environment. They will develop and apply theory-based leadership competencies to create the organizational cultures needed to achieve quality patient outcomes. Students will also explore evidence-based strategies to create healthy work environments that empower nurses and build collaborative interprofessional teams.
Advanced practice nurses must be equipped with an in-depth understanding of pathophysiological disease processes across the lifespan. In this course, students focus on understanding the biophysiological processes, the deviations from these processes, and an in-depth examination of the scientific concepts related to the biology of disease processes. Advanced practice nursing students learn how normal organ systems function and how organ systems are interrelated to help the body maintain homeostasis. Through knowledge of pathophysiological disease processes, students gain the information needed to develop appropriate treatment plans for patients across the lifespan. Students explore a variety of topics, such as immunity, inflammation, cancer genetics, and cardiovascular disease. They also examine a range of disease processes, including hematologic, renal, neurologic, gastrointestinal, and reproductive disorders.
A solid foundation in the concepts and principles of drug therapy across the lifespan is essential to the work of advanced practice nurses. Students in this course apply the advanced principles of pharmacology, including pharmacogenomics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics, by analysis of common drug classes prescribed by advanced practice nurses across the lifespan. Factors influencing successful therapy such as effectiveness, safety, acceptability, cost, genetic/environmental influences, complementary regimens, and patient behaviors are considered. Through this course, students prepare to examine complex decisions in the management and treatment of selected acute and chronic diseases across the lifespan through pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic agents. Advanced practice nursing students will have a more in-depth understanding of drug legislation and regulation for prescribing drugs.
The physical and emotional well-being of patients and families can be complex and multifaceted. Advanced practice nurses need to have the knowledge and ability to provide safe, competent, and comprehensive physical health assessments. Students in this course focus on concepts and skills to assess patients across the lifespan. They learn to use diagnostic reasoning, advanced communication, and physical assessment skills to identify changes in health patterns. Students also use a systematic approach through which they focus on the assessment of patients with acute and chronic health problems. The advanced skills of suturing, reading 12 Lead EKGs, and interpreting X-rays will be covered. Students engage in course assignments that emphasize risk assessment, diagnostic reasoning, and evidence-based assessment across the lifespan.
At times, psychotherapy is not enough to alleviate the emotional difficulties that some patients face. To that end, psychopharmacologic approaches are needed. Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) must have a strong basis in psychopharmacology, extending from a prior education in pharmacology, to make appropriate medication choices for their patients. Learners in this course consider psychopharmacologic approaches to major mental health disorders including, but not limited to, major depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders as well as psychotic disorders. Learners explore key considerations associated with medication selection, monitoring of efficacy, and long-term management.
Psychotherapy involves giving more than "good advice." For the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) to be effective, deliberate approaches to therapy must be used that are consistent with evidence-based practices. Learners in this course are introduced to a variety of therapeutic techniques that can be used during psychotherapy sessions with individuals across the lifespan. Emphasis is placed on evidence-based applications of various therapeutic approaches for a wide range of psychiatric issues. The focus of the practicum experience is on psychotherapeutic approaches with individuals.
Managed care has ushered in a new era of effective mental health services. To that end, the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) must know how to optimize not only his or her time, but also the treatment benefits associated with family and group therapy. In this course, the emphasis is on the concept of treatment of the family unit. Group dynamics and benefits associated with group therapy are also emphasized along with introducing the learner to techniques that can be used in group therapy settings. The focus of the practicum experience is on the treatment of the family unit as well as the provision of group psychotherapy.
Working from a lifespan approach, this first practicum course for the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is an introduction for the learner to child and adolescent psychiatry. Emphasis is placed on the psychiatric and/or mental health disorders that begin in childhood and adolescence and topics include psychiatric assessment, differential diagnosis, application of diagnostic criteria, appropriate diagnostic testing, and diagnostic formulation. The learner will select a combination of psychotherapeutic modalities coupled with psychopharmacologic approaches to treat common psychiatric mental health conditions of children and adolescents. The focus of the practicum experience is on application of didactic concepts to actual patient care situations.
Continuing from the lifespan approach, the learner in this final course for the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) focuses on psychiatric mental health issues that occur in adults and older adults. Selection of assessment approaches for the adult and older adult as well as differential diagnosis, application of diagnostic criteria, appropriate diagnostic testing, and diagnostic case formulation will be undertaken. The learner will use both psychotherapeutic approaches coupled with psychopharmacologic approaches to treat common psychiatric mental health conditions of adults and older adults. Through these practicum experiences, learners will focus on the application of didactic concepts to patient care situations.
*The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org). Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public's health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.
Walden currently cannot enroll residents of the following states/districts into any Nurse Practitioner specializations: Louisiana, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon and Utah.
Note on certification
The MSN nurse practitioner specializations are designed to prepare graduates to qualify to sit for national nurse practitioner certification exams, which are required for practice as a nurse practitioner in most states. Because no graduate program can guarantee that graduates will be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner upon graduation, we encourage students to consult the appropriate Board of Nursing or state agency to determine specific certification exam requirements. Walden enrollment advisors can provide information relating to national certification exams; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to national certification exams for the state in which he or she intends to practice as requirements vary widely. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain national certification. For more information about nurse practitioner certification exams, students should visit the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners at www.aanpcertification.org, American Nurses Credentialing Center at www.nursecredentialing.org, or other nurse practitioner certification exam websites.
Note on Licensure, Authorization, Endorsement, or Other State Credential Necessary to Practice as a Nurse Practitioner
The MSN nurse practitioner specializations are designed to prepare graduates with an active registered nurse (RN) license to practice as nurse practitioners. However, each state Board of Nursing has its own academic and certification requirements and issues its own credential for an RN to be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner in that state. Because no graduate program can guarantee that graduates will be permitted to practice as a nurse practitioner upon graduation, we encourage students to consult the appropriate Board of Nursing or state agency in the state in which he or she wishes to practice to determine specific requirements. Walden enrollment advisors can provide guidance relating to the state-by-state requirements for practice as a nurse practitioner; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand, evaluate, and comply with all requirements relating to the practice as a nurse practitioner in the state in which he or she intends to practice as requirements vary widely. Learn more about professional licensure. Walden makes no representations or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure, authorization, endorsement, or other state credential. For more information about the requirements to practice as a nurse practitioner, students should contact the appropriate Board of Nursing or state agency.