Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

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Invest In Others By Investing In Yourself

Fairfield University's Master of Science in Nursing, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program prepares students to assess, diagnose, and provide primary mental health care for people of all ages from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups who are suffering from psychiatric disorders and mental health problems. Individual, group, and family therapy, as well as medication management are important components of the curriculum. Graduates of our program work in a wide variety of settings, including private practice, home care, emergency rooms, integrated behavioral clinics, extended care facilities, residential treatment centers, and community mental health centers. Fall term entry only.

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Course Offerings

See Graduate Nursing course descriptions for more information.

Fall Semester
NS 521 Advanced Nursing Roles for Systems Leadership and Improvement 3
NS 640 Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology 3
Total 6
Spring Semester
NS 604 Advanced Health Assessment 4
NS 641 Advanced Pharmacology 3
Total 7
Summer Semester
NS 605 Advanced Healthcare Policy 3
NS 614 Information Technology for Healthcare Improvement 3
Total 6
Fall Semester
NS 608 Research Methods for Evidence-Based Practice 3
NS 650 Psychopathology 3
NS 665 Mental Health Nursing of Children & Adolescents 2
Total 8
Spring Semester
NS 601 Epidemiology and Biostatistics 3
NS 652 Mental Health Nursing of Individuals Across the Lifespan 3
NS 659 Foundational Clinical Skills for Advanced Psychiatric Nursing Practice 3
Total 9
Summer Term
NS 666 Practicum I: PMHNP 4
NS 667 Psychopharmacology 2
Total 6
Fall Semester
NS 661 Mental Health Nursing of Groups & Families Across the Lifespan 2
NS 666 Practicum II: PMHNP 4
Total 6
Spring Semester
NS 663 Primary Mental Health Nursing of At-Risk Populations Across the Lifespan 2
NS 666 Practicum III: PMHNP 4
Total 6


Applicants for the MS in Nursing, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program must hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) with a quality point average of 3.0 or higher preferred. 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 MSN program.

Career & Professional Opportunities

In Fairfield's Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program, you'll develop skills to provide care for adults from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups in a wide variety of settings: in-patient, community-based, and private practice. You'll learn to care for patients with a variety of mental disorders, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and thought disorders. You'll also have the opportunity to develop expertise in caring for special populations, such as substance abuse, elderly, or forensic mental health.

  • Psychiatric assessment and diagnosis
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Family and group work
  • Medication management
  • Application of research findings for evidence-based practice
  • Professional and academic writing
  • Public speaking/oral presentation

As a graduate, you'll be prepared to work as clinical faculty in undergraduate nursing programs. After one year of practice, you'll be prepared to serve as a preceptor for graduate students in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner programs.

  • In-patient psychiatric units
  • Emergency departments
  • Long-term care facilities
  • Home care agencies
  • Out-patient behavioral health clinics
  • Correctional facilities
  • K-12 schools
  • Colleges and universities
  • Residential treatment programs
  • Staff development departments

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners frequently combine positions in one or more of the above settings with a private practice. As a graduate of Fairfield's program you'll be prepared to choose from a variety of private practice options, including psychotherapy, medication management, or a combination of treatment modalities. Many of our graduates work in multidisciplinary practices with psychologists, social workers, and licensed counselors.

Learn more about how the University's Career Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

Individuals can complete either a DNP or a Masters’ program in their chosen area of specialty in order to become certified as a nurse practitioner. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners apply for board certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC); visit their website for more information on the requirements for certification.

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 six core credits if the courses are similar. Evaluation of transfer credits are approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.

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 two years and as part-time students in three years.

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

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