How To Become A Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse (FAQs) | 2023

How to become a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner: Nurse practitioners (NP) are the heartbeat of any health system. They play an indispensable role in any health setting.

Over the years, the roles of psychiatric-mental health nurses and practitioners have massively increased.

These professionals evaluate, identify, manage, and treat mental health and drug-use illnesses. They also uphold mental health alertness.

To become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, you must possess various nursing, mental, and neurological skills.

Thus, this article will provide you with all you need to know to help you become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

Is a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner degree worth it?

As one of the most specialized nurse practitioner specializations, psychiatric nurse practitioners are among the highest-paid.

There has been an increase in demand for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in recent years. For the foreseeable future, this upward trend is predicted to continue for some time.

PMHNPs work at mental health clinics and hospitals, where they treat patients with a wide range of mental health issues, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other mental illnesses.

Recent years have seen an increased focus on increasing awareness of mental health diseases and eradicating the social stigma associated with getting treatment for mental health issues.

People are more likely to seek assistance as a result of this rise in awareness.

On the other hand, a career as a PMHNP is an excellent choice because of the promising development in employment opportunities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 45% increase in the number of nurse practitioners between 2019 and 2029.

For PMHNPs who work in private psychiatric institutions, the job outlook is 26.2%, compared to just 2.3% for those who work in state psychiatric facilities.

More so, the job outlook for PMHNPs working in residential care facilities that provide mental health services is 30.4%. It doesn’t matter where you end up working; there will be plenty of jobs available in the near future.

Read more:

What Do Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Do?

Psychiatric nurse practitioners are NPs that have received advanced training to provide expertise in mental health.

They evaluate patients, revise their medical history, and complete extensive mental-health testing.

Moreover, PMHNPs carry out diagnoses and establish treatment strategies to help the patient regain his or her mental prowess.

Additionally, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are skilled with the ability to generate diagnoses of their mental illnesses and formulate the best treatment plan that will address that issue. Psychiatric nurse practitioners also assist in innovating people.

They sometimes draft policies associated with mental health fears and the management of people suffering from one form of mental health illness.

Types of illnesses and disorders handled by psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are equipped with expertise and skills that help them to treat several illnesses. Some of them include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Psychosis
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality dysfunction
  • Disruptive behavior
  • Trauma-induced disorder

Where can a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner work?

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners can work in a lot of places. Some of them include;

  • Psychiatric hospitals
  • Private hospitals
  • Assisted-living homes
  • Mental health establishments
  • Drug and alcohol treatment centers
  • Educational institutions

Psychiatric nurse practitioners that have obtained an advanced level of education and possess many years of experience can be employed to function as university nurse educators, psychiatric therapists, and psychiatric primary-care providers.

How to Become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner:

1. Attend an accredited nursing school:

Attending an authorized nursing school is the first step you need to take when aspiring to become an accredited nurse.

You can begin by obtaining an associate’s degree that will allow you to attend school and work simultaneously.

The experience you will gather from that type of training will help you in the long run, especially when enrolling in an advanced nursing program.

You are eligible for a psychiatric nurse practitioner program as soon as you obtain your BSN.

Sit and pass the NCLEX-RN exam:

The NCLEX-RN exam enables you to obtain RN licensure and perform your duties as a registered nurse. If you perform well in the exam, you must apply for RN licensure in your state.

3. Obtain a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner degree:

To bag a degree in psychiatric mental health nursing, you must enroll in a dedicated graduate program that is either a master’s or doctorate.

4. Complete the mandated number of clinical experience hours:

To take the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner certification exam, you need to have 500 hours of clinical experience. However, you must understand that more hours are also needed in some states.

5. Become a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner:

As soon as you possess an advanced degree in nursing, you can take the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner exam organized by the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC).

This exam is a condition that must be met before a license will be awarded to a person to enable him or her to work as a PMHNP.

Moreover, you need to note that it can take up to six years to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

On the other hand, many years would be needed if you are doing a part-time program.

Also, note that some states delay before giving out a license. So, this may contribute to the length of time you will spend before landing a license.

In addition, as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, you would have the chance to handle patients from different cultural and social upbringings.

You can be employed to work in clinics, psychiatric homes, residential programs, outpatient hospitals, doctor’s offices, prisons, and several other establishments.

Although psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners have the same tasks that emergency room nurses have to perform, it is a profession that will free you up a little.

Read more:

Important abilities that every Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner should have:

First of all, and primarily, a mental nurse practitioner is a nurse and must have a passion for helping and taking care of people.

A PMHNP must also be able to communicate effectively because this profession necessitates communicating clearly and effectively with people.

PMHNPs frequently serve as counselors in addition to simply speaking with their patients. Because of this, they must work well with other medical experts to provide the best possible treatment for their patients.

When working with patients, especially those unable to express their issues clearly, PMHNPs may encounter challenges.

To make the patient feel like themselves again, the NP must be sympathetic, empathetic, and kind to them while attempting to find out what’s wrong and the best strategy.

More so, NPs must pay special attention to the smallest details because they have the added responsibility and authority to treat patients and prescribe medications.

When it comes to mental health care, a nurse practitioner may need to be much more attentive to subtleties to create an appropriate therapy plan.

In addition to helping patients with depressive disorders and worry, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners also help those with more severe disorders.

More than just recognizing and treating the more common signs and symptoms of mental illness, nurse practitioners must be willing to learn about and advocate for mental health issues.

Frequently Asked Questions on How To Become A Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner:

What can trigger mental illness?

Childhood trauma
Stressful events
Negative thoughts

What is a nervous breakdown?

People often use the term “nervous breakdown” to describe a stressful scenario in which they are unable to operate normally in their daily lives for a short period of time. It’s a well-known fact that it happens when the pressures of daily life become too much to bear.

What to do if you’re having a mental breakdown?

If you think you’re going to have a breakdown, you should visit a doctor right away. The physical symptoms can be treated by your doctor. Psychologists and psychiatrists can also help you find a specialist who specializes in treating mental, emotional, and behavioral issues.

Can you use your phone in a mental hospital?

It is possible to receive visitors and make phone calls while in an inpatient mental health facility. Visitors are required to undergo a security screening to ensure that they do not bring in prohibited things. To maximize treatment time, many mental health facilities restrict visiting and phone contact hours.


Psychiatric mental health nursing is one of the ideal career paths you should take.

This career offers an opportunity for professional growth and development and an opportunity for you to create an impact on society.

Moreover, psychiatric mental health nursing is one profession that offers lots of job opportunities in several countries around the world.

However, to excel as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, you must be open to learning at all times, trust your instincts, and uphold the virtue of integrity while completing your daily tasks.

Awesome one; I hope this article answered your question.

Editor’s Recommendations:

If you find this article good, please share it with a friend.

ST Admin
ST Admin

Hello, I am ST Admin! For five years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am the Administrator of at present.

Articles: 922