Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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Where Experience Becomes Expertise

Fairfield University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a clinically focused degree that prepares graduates to evaluate and apply existing evidence to improve practice outcomes. Taught as a cohort program, students are educated in the fundamental skills necessary to make a difference in healthcare: population-level healthcare, organizational systems, leadership, business management, clinical scholarship, information technology, and policy-making. With this knowledge, DNP Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner graduates are prepared for leadership roles as well as for advanced practice psychiatric nurse roles in a variety of settings.

Egan School Rankings

Top 75
Best Grad Nursing Programs in Nation

- U.S. News & World Report

Top 5
Nursing School in New England

– 2019 Nursing Schools Almanac

Course Offerings

Visit our online catalog for more information.

Credits
NS 601 Epidemiology and Biostatistics 3
NS 605 Advanced Healthcare Policy 3
NS 608 Research Methods for Evidence-Based Practice 3
NS 610 Advanced Nursing Roles and Reflective Practice 3
Total 12
Credits
NS 611 Population Health 3
NS 612 Research Translation for Clinical Practice 3
NS 613 Finance & Quality Management in Health Care Organizations 3
NS 614 Information Technology for Healthcare Improvement 3
NS 615 Leadership & Interprofessional Collaboration 3
NS 687 DNP Immersion * 1 – 5
NS 697 DNP Seminar I 1
NS 699 DNP Seminar II 1
Total 18 – 22

* A total of 1,000 practicum/immersion hours are required for the DNP.

Credits
NS 604 Advanced Health Assessment 4
NS 640 Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3
NS 641 Advanced Pharmacology 3
Total 10

Specialty Courses

Credits
NS 650 Psychopathology 3
NS 652 Mental Health Nursing of Individuals Across the Lifespan 3
NS 659 Foundational Clinical Skills for Advanced Psychiatric Nursing Practice 3
NS 661 Mental Health Nursing of Groups & Families Across the Lifespan 2
NS 663 Primary Mental Health Nursing of At-Risk Populations Across the Lifespan 2
NS 665 Mental Health Nursing of Children & Adolescents 2
NS 666 Practicum I / II / III: PMHNP 4 (each)
NS 667 Psychopharmacology 2
Total 29

Admission

Applications are considered on a rolling basis for classes until July 1.

BSN applicants for the DNP at Fairfield must hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher overall and in the nursing major. RN applicants who have a non-nursing bachelor's degree will be considered on an individual basis and may be required to complete select prerequisites to be eligible for admission to the DNP program; however, RN applicants who have a non-nursing bachelor's degree are not eligible for the Nurse Anesthesia track.

Stag Spotlight

Rose Calvo

DNP’20, RN, BSN, SRNA

Get to Know Rose

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
I chose Fairfield University for my advanced degree for many reasons. First, Fairfield’s Nurse Anesthesia Program has a long record of success. Graduates from this program are extremely well prepared to enter the workforce and meaningfully contribute to the field. The leadership at Fairfield U. is exceptional; our professors are always looking to advance our educational experiences in innovative ways. Finally, the facilities at the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies are state-of-the-art. We have multiple simulation labs, including two operating rooms where students can practice giving anesthesia to simulated patients of all ages.

What have you liked about your Fairfield education?
I have really enjoyed learning the finer details of anesthesia from my professors, preceptors, and classmates. Fairfield U. combines strong didactic courses with first-rate clinical experiences. It was also one of the first programs in the country to adopt a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) curriculum. I know that I will graduate with the knowledge and skills I need to be a safe and competent anesthesia provider, and one day, a leader in the field.

My classmates and I also appreciate that Fairfield U. supplements our education with fun ways to unwind and get to know each other. We have enjoyed many GradStag events, from free pizza at the Levee, to trivia and paint nights

What would you tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield?
There are many great graduate schools out there; however, Fairfield U. is unique because it melds excellent academics with formative clinical experiences, small class sizes, and access to a wealth of extra-curricular activities. Moreover, Fairfield U. attracts fantastic people. My classmates are an extraordinarily smart and compassionate group of individuals, and they have made this experience infinitely better.

How has working toward your advanced degree at Fairfield affected your life?
Working toward my DNP in the field of nurse anesthesia has required dedication and perseverance. Simply, there is so much to learn, and so many skills to master before a student earns the title of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). While the academic and clinical schedule can sometimes be grueling, I have done my best to find a balance between school and my personal life. I have also made many lasting relationships with classmates and preceptors. While learning the art of anesthesia is certainly challenging, it is a process that is worth the sacrifices. For me, it has truly been a transformative experience.

Juan Farfan

DNP’20, BSN, RN, CCRN

Get to Know Juan

What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
I choose Fairfield University for my advanced degree because I have always heard great things about the program from current students and graduates. Also, CRNAs from Fairfield University have a respected reputation throughout the state and country.

What have you liked about your Fairfield education?
I like that I feel like I am part of a small family, where the director and assistant director of the program really care about. My professors are extremely experienced CRNAs who are always available and willing to help, whether it is academics or a personal problem. Being in CRNA school is very complex and it takes a family setting to truly be successful, and I have found that at Fairfield University.

What would you tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield?
I would tell them that they should definitely consider Fairfield University because of the family environment, competence of the instructors, state-of-the-art simulation center, and the multitude of resources offered by the University.

How has working toward your advanced degree at Fairfield affected your life?
CRNA school is no easy task. It is three continuous years of balancing didactics with clinical and a DNP project. You are learning to provide anesthesia to people of all ages and learning to do it well. Clinical, class, school work, and studying take up all of your time and leaves you with very limited free time, where you must decide if you want to rest or see your loved ones. CRNA school has positively impacted my life by making me realize that I can accomplish what I set my mind and heart to, learning who my true support system is, and appreciating the little moments in life.

Career & Professional Opportunities

Upon completion of the Fairfield University DNP program, graduates will possess the following competencies:

  • Independently provide culturally sensitive and evidence-based care to individuals and populations in a defined area of advanced nursing practice.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking at the highest level of practice and accountability in the management of healthcare systems, considering ethical, legal, and socially just patient-centered care.
  • Translate research into practice through critique of existing evidence, evaluation of outcomes, and implementation of projects that contribute to the development of best practices.
  • Integrate science and theory from nursing and related disciplines within a reflective practice framework to inform clinical judgments, resolve dilemmas in healthcare, and serve as a patient care advocate.
  • Evaluate patient, population, and healthcare system outcomes using fiscal analysis and cost-effective strategies to achieve quality improvement.
  • Analyze the use of healthcare information systems and patient care technology to assure quality healthcare outcomes.
  • Lead collaborative interprofessional relationships and partnerships to transform healthcare delivery systems and improve health.
  • Assume a leadership role in the analysis, development, implementation, and evaluation of policies to improve healthcare delivery and outcomes at the local, regional, national, and international levels.

DNP graduates will be prepared to be practice leaders in a variety of roles, including:

  • Quality management executives in healthcare organizations
  • Advanced practice caregivers in acute, community, and long-term care settings
  • Directors of clinical programs
  • Faculty responsible for clinical program delivery and teaching

Frequently Asked Questions

The Doctor of Nursing Practice is a practice-focused doctorate comparable to advanced clinical degrees in other health disciplines such as Medical Doctor (MD), Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), Doctor of Public Health (DrPH), and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). The degree represents the highest academic preparation for nursing practice, focusing on expanded scientific knowledge related to providing comprehensive direct care across all settings. Grounded in clinical practice, the DNP moves the focus of advanced practice nursing from the level of the individual patient to the population level by using a cross-population perspective to assess, manage, and evaluate common problems.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), safe nursing practice in today's increasingly complex health care system requires improved translation of scientific evidence into practice. With a DNP, you'll be able to assume a leadership role in an increasingly complex healthcare system during this critical era of healthcare reform.

The future of nursing rides on the DNP, and the shift in the industry is occurring right now. Members of AACN voted in 2004 to support advanced practice nursing at the doctoral level. This means that the DNP is the preferred degree for students wishing to be a nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), nurse midwife (CNM), or nurse anesthetist (CRNA); it will soon be required in some areas of advanced practice such as nurse anesthesia. For more information on the DNP, visit AACN.

The DNP is the preferred degree for advanced practice nursing (AACN, 2004). While programs are still available at the master's level, the DNP is expected to become the standard in the nursing practice.

The primary difference between the two is that a PhD is research-focused and the DNP is practice-focused. The PhD is specifically designed to teach students how to conduct original investigation that advances the knowledge of a discipline. In contrast, a DNP is comparable to clinical doctorates in other health disciplines such as pharmacy, physical therapy, and medicine. DNP students focus on advanced practice areas of specialization, acquiring a population perspective in addressing common patient problems within a specialty. DNP students complete a DNP Project that applies existing knowledge to address a clinical problem. The DNP Project results in a publishable paper that demonstrates the effectiveness of a clinical innovation on patient outcomes.

Fairfield University offers:

  • Personalized attention & strong faculty-student mentorship opportunities
  • A rigorous, experiential, and inspirational academic experience
  • A reputation for graduating highly skilled nurse practitioners
  • Stellar on-site technological resources
  • A state-of-the-art simulation laboratory
  • Exceptional media resources available onsite and remotely
  • In keeping with our Jesuit mission, an emphasis on the ethical, legal, and socially-just implications of patient-centered care

We accept applications for family or psychiatric nurse practitioner specialties and nurse anesthetists.

The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties is responsible for developing the nurse practitioner competencies. This is true for both MSN and DNP preparation.

Upon completing the program at Fairfield University, a certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner can work with clients across the lifespan and in all clinical settings including acute care, community clinic, Federally Qualified Health Centers, corrections facilities, academic health centers, and private practice.

Students can transfer up to 6 core credits if the courses are similar. Evaluation of transfer credits are approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

BSNs who pursue the DNP on a full-time basis will take 3 years; 4 years if they do so part-time. The approximate cost is $70-75,000 for the program, depending on the tuition rate per credit which could change slightly over the course of those years.

Yes, many of our students attend school part-time while working full-time; we have both full-time and part-time curricular plans available.

View the Fairfield's Egan School of Nursing graduate admission requirements.

The GRE exam is not required for the Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Anesthesia Tracks; however, for BSN applicants that have earned a GPA below 3.0., or MSN applicants that have earned a GPA below 3.2, GRE scores may strengthen your application by demonstrating your ability to achieve the academic standards required at the doctoral level.

The Egan School has developed a special program allowing certified Family Nurse Practitioners to complete all required didactic and clinical coursework as well as DNP coursework as full-time students in 2 years and as part-time students in 3 years.

Call or email Dr. Kate Wheeler, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2708 for more information.

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