Best Psychiatric & Mental Health Clinical Nurse Schools

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Below you can search for and explore some the top psychiatric and mental health clinical nurse colleges and universities in the United States.

2018-2019 U.S. News & World Report’s Psychiatric & Mental Health Clinical Nurse College Rankings

Ranking College Name Location
Rush University Chicago, IL
Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
University of Washington Seattle, WA
Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
#6 Tie
University of California – San Francisco San Francisco, CA
#6 Tie
University of Maryland – Baltimore Baltimore, MD
Yale University New Haven, CT
#9 Tie
Columbia University New York, NY
#9 Tie
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC

Source: U.S. News & World Report

Psychiatric & Mental Health Clinical Nurses

Psychiatric and Mental Health nurses typically work as advanced practice Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNSs) or Nurse Practitioners in psychiatric hospitals, outpatient mental health clinics, psychiatric home care, outpatient mental health clinics, emergency psychiatric services, and substance abuse treatment facilities. Both the CNS and nurse practitioner are responsible for evaluating, assessing and diagnosing the mental health and state of patients, and identifying psychiatric disorders. They also provide psychotherapy to individual patients and their families.

Within the role of psychiatric and mental health nurse, clinical nurse specialists usually focus on supporting the over nursing and direct patient care process by providing education, training and leadership to other mental health nurses and support staff. They also focus on program development and quality improvement. In contrast, the nurse practitioner is responsible for identifying psychiatric disorders and prescribing the appropriate treatment to individual patients.

Psychiatric & Mental Health Clinical Nurses can become certified as an ANCC Adult Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist (PMHCNS-BC). In order to do so, candidates must earn a master’s, post-graduate or doctoral degree from a college that provides a psychiatric-mental health clinical nurse specialist program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) or Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). They must also be a licensed registered nurse and complete 500 hours of supervised clinical work in the capacity of a psychiatric/mental health clinical nurse.

Graduate programs in psychiatric and mental health clinical nursing typically include three major areas of study:

  • Advanced physical/health assessment
  • Advanced pharmacology
  • Advanced pathophysiology

Additional coursework may focus on helping nursing students develop the skills and knowledge necessary to provide both biological and psychotherapeutic interventions for patients in diverse settings who suffer from psychological and mental disorders. Finally, students must complete faculty-supervised clinical training which includes a minimum of 2 psychotherapeutic treatment modalities before they can graduate.

Students who complete an accredited Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist program can then sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) administered certification examination which will enable them to become a Child/Adolescent Psychiatric & Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist or Adult Psychiatric and Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist.

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