Common Questions: MSN – Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Online

MSN Pysch Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Questions

The Master of Science in Nursing – Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (MSN – PMHNP) degree is for RNs who want to specialize in a vital field of healthcare and have greater practice authority in working with patients. This form of advanced practice nursing becomes more essential each year as the nation's psychiatric and mental health service system adapts to a host of challenges. They include a growing opioid crisis, a declining number of psychiatrists, and too few treatment beds for those who need care.

PMHNPs take a holistic approach to treating vulnerable and stigmatized populations

PMHNPs take a holistic approach to treating vulnerable and at times stigmatized populations. These RNs provide comprehensive care regardless of the diagnosis or the complexity of behavioral issues involved. As a PMHNP, you may work with patients with thought disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, addiction to prescription medications or street drugs, depression or anxiety, or diseases linked to the aging brain such as Alzheimer's and dementia. PMHNPs also work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, from schools, hospitals and private care facilities to nonprofit clinics, government agencies and prisons.

If you are passionate about a career in this high-demand, high-reward area of healthcare, take some time to review the information below. Simply follow these links to learn more about how you can earn your MSN – PMHNP degree online and how this degree can help you achieve your goals.

What Is a Master of Science in Nursing?

What Is a Master of Science in Nursing in Psych Mental Health?

The MSN – PMHNP degree is required for RNs who want to become an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) specializing in psychiatric and mental healthcare. PMHNP students complete graduate coursework and participate in supervised clinical practice, blending theory and research with hands-on experience. Clinical hours are typically 500-700 depending on the school and program. NKU requires 500 for its .

The degree also prepares students for the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner board certification exam (PMHNP-BC) administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), as well as the responsibilities that come with professional licensure in this nursing discipline.

Is a PMHNP's Scope of Practice More Similar to That of a Physician or a Psychiatrist?

23 states currently allow full practice authority to NPs of all specialties

While practice authority for all nurse practitioners is governed by state laws and regulations, PMHNPs are a bit unique in their scope of practice. RNs with a PMHNP-BC credential see and diagnose patients, design treatment plans, prescribe medications, and monitor their patients' progress just as a physician or a psychiatrist might. They are also qualified to provide both one-to-one and group counseling, which differs from the scope of other nurse practitioners. So while PMHNPs are not doctors, they play a role in patient care that can be just as important.

In many states, PMHNPs must still work under the supervision of a physician or psychiatrist, but in some places they can see patients independently as well. The latest data from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners indicates that 23 states currently allow full practice authority to NPs of all specialties. They include:

The VA has granted full practice authority to all nurse practitioners
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont

The U.S. Veterans Administration also grants full practice authority to PMHNPs working anywhere in its system, regardless of the state where the hospital, outpatient clinic or treatment facility is located.

What Will I Learn in an MSN – PMHNP Degree Program?

You will learn to provide comprehensive psychiatric and mental healthcare to people dealing with acute, chronic or episodic illness. Students are trained in a range of assessment tools and treatment modalities, various forms of psycho-social intervention, and the proper use of prescription medications. Clinical residencies also provide students the opportunity to work with patients across the lifespan, gaining valuable experience in different PMHNP roles and care settings.

What Kinds of Courses Will I Take For an Online MSN – PMHNP Degree?

MSN PMHNP students will learn about patient evaluation and care as well as interventional therapies

MSN – PMHNP coursework focuses on the core skills and knowledge that RNs working with psychiatric and mental health patients need to provide ethical care and effective treatment. You will learn about patient evaluation and care planning, strategic use of medication and interventional therapies, and the role research can play in PMHNP practice. You will also learn the legal and professional standards of this dynamic career field.

Students in take a combination of 18 core and concentration courses, including:

  • Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice and Research
  • Human Pathophysiology
  • Psych-Mental Health Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Advanced Clinical Pharmacology and Intervention
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Analysis and Application of Health Data for Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Healthcare Policy and Economics in Population Health
  • Psych-Mental Health NP Capstone

Visit the section of the program website to learn more.

Mark Bartruff, NKU MSN PMHNP online student
To be honest, I didn't really know a lot about how much research hospitals do to find the best practice, and when I was a nurse, a lot of that terminology just kind of flew right past me … it's eye-opening to be learning about research and how it [applies] to every hospital and every nurse practitioner or provider.

Are MSN – PMHNP Online Courses As Challenging As Courses Taught on Campus?

Yes. Online MSN – PMHNP courses are just as rigorous as equivalent coursework in a traditional on-campus program, because students in both learning environments must acquire the same core knowledge and nursing skills to earn their degree and achieve board certification.

What Will I Need for Admission to This Type of MSN Program?

Common PMHNP admission requirements

Admissions criteria can vary between schools, but most MSN – PMHNP online programs require that you have:

  • A Bachelor of Science in Nursing from a regionally accredited university with an ACEN, CCNE or CNEA accredited nursing program
  • An active and unencumbered nursing license in the state you practice
  • Work experience as an RN
  • Official transcripts documenting all previous college or university coursework, grades earned, and your GPA
  • An undergraduate statistics course with a grade of "C" or better

Each program sets its own minimum GPA for admission (3.0 is common), as well as other requirements applicants must meet. Some schools require that applicants pass a background check, and you may also be asked to submit:

  • GRE scores
  • Professional letters of reference or reference contact information
  • A statement of purpose or a personal essay
  • A current resume
  • Proof of professional certifications, liability insurance, and required immunizations
NKU's online PMHNP program doesn't require the GRE

NKU's online MSN – PMHNP program has a simple and straightforward process that helps applicants speed through the steps and get going on their degree. Graduates of NKU and active duty military members don't even have to pay an application fee.

NKU online MSN programs, including the PMHNP, do not require GRE scores as part of admissions.

Do I Need a Background in Psychiatric or Mental Health Nursing to Apply?

No. You can apply to most MSN – PMHNP online programs as long as your RN license is active and you have work experience in any area of nursing.

Learn more about our MSN PMHNP online program!

I've Heard Nursing Program Accreditation Is Important – Why Does It Matter?

Accreditation matters for a number of reasons. When a school or one of its degree programs meets the standard required to receive accreditation, you can feel confident that a degree from that institution has value and that graduates are properly trained for the careers they seek.

Nursing programs accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) have undergone a thorough review process evaluating every aspect of their teaching and operations. Recertification is also required periodically after initial accreditation to ensure that students continue to get a relevant and quality education, graduates have been trained to professional licensure standards, and program finances and operations remain sound.

Schools must be accredited to qualify for state and federal financial aid

For RNs, accreditation also matters because nursing students are not eligible for state or federal financial aid if they attend an unaccredited degree program. And course credits from unaccredited nursing programs may not be accepted at other schools. Most healthcare employers strongly prefer to hire RNs who have a degree from an accredited school or program as well.

How Can I Tell Whether a Nursing Degree Program Is Accredited?

NKU's RN to BSN online degree program is CCNE-accredited

The U.S. Department of Education has a free resource that can help. You can use the online Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP) to check the accreditation status of any nursing program located in a U.S. state or territory.

NKU's online MSN – PMHNP degree program is CCNE-accredited.

How Do Clinicals Work in an MSN – PMHNP Online Program?

Clinicals are always required for an MSN PMHNP degree

Clinicals are always required for the MSN – PMHNP degree, even if you are earning it online, so schools and students tend to work together to facilitate this important part of PMHNP education.

Sites and preceptors for online students are often based on each student's location and priorities. Placements can be developed to help a student explore different areas of psychiatric and mental health nursing or to align with career plans after graduation.

NKU's online MSN – PMHNP students complete four separate clinical residencies during their time in the program, and many look forward to this exciting stage in their progress toward the degree.

Who Sets up the Clinical Placement and Chooses My Preceptor?

RNs studying in online MSN – PMHNP programs usually have the option of making their own clinical arrangements, giving them more freedom to tailor these essential nursing residencies to their specific goals and interests.

Doing clinicals in the community in which you plan to work can build your network

Draft a written agreement for each clinical placement 60 to 90 days before it is scheduled to begin so that your program has time to approve your site and preceptor. Doing your clinicals in your local community or in a city where you hope to work after graduation can also help build your professional network and demonstrate your value to potential employers.

Can I Do My Clinicals Where I Currently Work?

Most PMHNP programs frown on this type of arrangement because the point of doing clinicals is to gain experience in new areas of practice, whether that's a different aspect of nursing or a patient population you may not have treated before.

Some PMHNP programs will allow one placement with a current employer on three conditions:

Work with a preceptor during clinical rotations
  • The clinical site must be located outside of the unit, clinic or part of the organization where you regularly work.
  • The preceptor must be someone other than your current work supervisor.
  • Your clinical duties and patients must not overlap with those at your current paid nursing job.

If you work in a hospital-based psychiatric inpatient clinic for teens, for example, you could pursue a clinical residency in the hospital's outpatient clinic for adults, on a research and analytics project, or in a satellite treatment facility that's part of the hospital network. Just be sure to consult your program before pursuing this type of clinical arrangement.

Can Online MSN – PMHNP Students Get Help Making Clinical Arrangements?

Yes, and many students do. Just keep in mind that the level of assistance your nursing program can provide may at times depend on your location and the contacts that staff and professors have at their disposal. If you feel you may need some guidance or support in finding the right clinical site in your area of the country, be sure to ask any psych mental health NP programs you are considering about the assistance they can offer.

NKU's College of Health Professions has a strong reputation for providing individualized support to online students, including help with clinical placements. So whether you live in Montana, Mississippi, or even up in Alaska, if you need assistance finding the right site or preceptor for your next clinical experience, NKU can lend a hand.

What's the Career Outlook for PMHNPs?

only 4% of NPs specialize in psychiatric mental healthcare

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 87 percent of the 270,000 NPs licensed to practice in the United States specialize in primary care, and only 4 percent currently specialize in psychiatric mental healthcare for individuals or families. So when you choose to train as a PMHNP, you join a select group of clinicians being aggressively recruited to address some of our nation's most critical healthcare issues.

In many parts of the country, PMHNPs have become the vital bridge to care that hospitals, clinics, treatment centers and health departments need to continue offering quality services to the populations they serve. Some psych mental health nurse practitioners are also going into private practice, or working in rural and remote areas to help address growing physician shortages there.

Spotlight: The State of Mental Health in America

Spotlight: The State of Mental Health in America

Community-based nonprofit Mental Health America (MHA) publishes an annual report on The State of Mental Health in America, and its latest data documents an extraordinary demand for psychiatric and mental health services from 2018-2019. The data also reveals that too many citizens' treatment needs are going unmet.

According to MHA:

  • Over 44 million Americans live with mental health issues. Almost half of this population also has a substance abuse disorder.
  • Approximately 9.8 million citizens experience suicidal ideation, which reflects an increase of 200,000 in the last year alone.
  • More than half of people with mental health issues, 56 percent, are not receiving any care or treatment. This includes almost 1.9 million youth aged 12-17 who experience major depressive episodes (MDEs).
  • The number of youths living with MDEs has risen by 175,000 in the last year, with 100,000 youths experiencing the most severe depressive episodes.

Care options are so limited in some parts of America that patients with mental health issues wait months for an appointment with a provider or travel to a different city or state for inpatient treatment. The 2019 report, which includes Washington D.C., lists the states ranking the lowest for access to services. The most limited options for psychiatric and mental healthcare and treatment include Nevada (47th), Texas (50th) and Mississippi (51st). The reasons that people do not get the care they require can also be personal at times, involving resistance to medication or other types of intervention.

PMHNPs are playing an essential role in filling these healthcare gaps across the nation. They are working with psychiatric and mental health patients from the largest urban areas to the most remote rural settings, providing services that help more patients access, accept and receive treatment.

Will Potential Employers Care That I Earned My MSN – PMHNP Degree Online?

Inside Higher Ed reports that a third of all college students now study in distance education courses and degree programs, and healthcare employers are up to speed with this growing trend. They know that established and accredited PMHNP degree programs produce quality graduates whether students earn their degree on campus or online. With the high demand for PMHNPs, and the relatively small numbers of RNs with this important specialization, most employers are recruiting online graduates just as heavily as graduates from on-campus programs.

What Is the Average PMHNP Salary?

2019 data from Glassdoor indicates that the average base PMHNP salary is $117,292 per year. However, APRNs with this specialization are making more in many cities, and compensation can also include signing bonuses and other incentives.

City Average Annual Base Salary
Columbus, Ohio $119,109
Salt Lake City, Utah $123,373
Madison, Wisconsin $125,213
Ann Arbor, Michigan $126,185
Fort Worth, Texas $126,986
Burlington, Vermont $127,001
Hartford, Connecticut $127,086
Santa Fe, New Mexico $134,832
Las Vegas, Nevada $135,147

Source: Glassdoor, February 2019

Are PMHNP Jobs More Common in Public or Private Healthcare Settings?

PMHNP jobs are available in a diverse range of healthcare settings, whether you want to work in the public or private sector. Regardless of your interests, there are many different types of employment you can pursue once you achieve your PMHNP-BC certification.

Here are a few examples of the public and private settings where PMHNPs practice.

Public Healthcare

  • County and municipal health departments
  • City and county hospitals, jails and treatment centers
  • Nonprofit hospitals, clinics and homeless shelters
  • Public university teaching hospitals and student health centers
  • Local school districts
  • State and county rural healthcare programs
  • State and federal prisons
  • State homes and facilities for people with disabilities
  • Military and VA hospitals, clinics and treatment centers
  • Government agencies (administration, research, or public policy work)

Private Healthcare

  • Corporate-owned hospitals and residential treatment centers
  • Company wellness programs, on-site clinics, and employee assistance programs
  • Student health centers at private colleges and universities
  • Psychiatrist and physician practices
  • Home health and telehealth companies
  • Insurance and pharmaceutical companies
  • Private prisons and holding facilities
  • Athletic training and performance consulting
  • Healthcare recruiting and placement agencies
  • Private PMHNP practice or consulting

Learn more about our MSN PMHNP online program!

Are Many Employers Recruiting PMHNP Graduates?

Yes! Healthcare placement firm Merritt Hawkins reports that nurse practitioners were the third most heavily recruited specialty in 2018, behind only primary care physicians and psychiatrists. Given the integral role that PMHNPs are now playing in both general medicine and psychiatric treatment settings, demand for their services continues to rise steadily in most areas of the country. The growing shortage of psychiatrists in America is also driving this uptick in recruiting for PMHNPs.

Is the Psychiatrist Shortage Driving PMHNP Demand?

Merritt Hawkins noted in a recent white paper that the number of psychiatrists in America is dwindling, and psychiatry training programs are no longer producing enough graduates to compensate for the need that remains. Aging, retirement, burnout and other factors are causing psychiatrists to leave the profession, and this has had a chilling effect on access to care.

Doctors are having difficulty finding psychiatric services for their patients

Two-thirds of primary care physicians now report difficulty finding psychiatric services for their patients, which is leading to a sharp rise in hospital emergency room visits for mental health treatment. The fact that many active psychiatrists no longer accept insurance due to low reimbursement rates also contributes to the problem.

In this complex practice environment, more PMHNPs are being recruited to fill the care gaps created by patients' lack of access to psychiatrists. Unlike professional counselors, therapists and most psychologists, psych mental health nurse practitioners have expertise in psychopharmacology and they can prescribe medication. PMHNPs are also highly valued for their holistic approach to diagnosis, care planning and treatment.

Is Demand for PMHNPs Strong in Rural Areas?

One in four nurse practitioners works in a rural setting

Yes. One in four nurse practitioners now works in a rural setting, and rural populations have a critical need for psychiatric and mental health services. Many small towns and remote areas do not have adequate psychiatrist or physician coverage, and since most NPs specialize in primary care, the demand for rural PMHNPs is usually much greater than the supply.

It's not that uncommon for rural PMHNPs to be one of the few clinician groups in a county or community with the specialized training required to work with patients experiencing anxiety, depression, addiction, dementia, severe mental disorders or other forms of psychiatric and mental illness. PMHNPs can also work in a variety of rural healthcare settings, including critical access hospitals and VA centers, satellite clinics and treatment facilities, or even a telemedicine practice, seeing patients via video conference. Many rural PMHNPs also find they can make a good living working short-term locum tenens assignments in different cities or regions of their state, rather than taking on a permanent position.

What Is Locum Tenens?

Locum tenens nurses are temporary or contract-based

Locum tenens is a phrase that means "substitute" or "placeholder." In healthcare, it refers to a temporary clinician, generally a nurse or physician working a contract position that lasts for a period of months. Locum tenens PMHNPs make $125,238 per year on average according to ZipRecruiter (March 2019), and many rural healthcare employers rely on these contract APRNs to expand psychiatric and mental health coverage in the geographic area they serve.

Experienced locum tenens PMHNPs working in high-demand locations can earn even more. Roughly 33 percent of these RNs bring home a PMHNP salary in the range of $134,500 to $173,500 per year, and this type of temporary nursing work is also available in larger cities and metro areas.

Can PMHNPs Qualify for Mental Health Professional Shortage Area Incentives?

There is much demand for PMHNPs in both rural and urban Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas (MHPSAs)

Yes. There is much demand for PMHNPs in both rural and urban Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas (MHPSAs), as designated by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). In many states, PMHNPs are helping to address service disruptions created when patients cannot get the psychiatric or mental healthcare they require in a timely manner, or at all.

Federal and state incentive programs for advanced practice nurses working in shortage areas include the Nurse Corps Scholarship Program and Loan Repayment Program, the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program and Loan Repayment Program, the State Loan Repayment Program and the Indian Health Service loan repayment program.

Opportunities and incentives for PMHNPs can be most robust in states such as those in the table below, where a high percentage of counties have been designated as full or partial shortage areas for mental health services, and low numbers of the population are receiving the care they require.

State Percentage of Counties With HRSA MHPSA Designation Statewide Population in MHPSAs Mental Health Need Currently Being Met
Texas 81% 12,092,975 35%
Illinois 85% 4,850,399 23%
West Virginia 87% 718,171 17%
Michigan 89% 4,132,859 24%
Alaska 89% 276,673 23%
Mississippi 94% 2,775,574 24%
South Dakota 94% 456,245 12%
Colorado 98% 2,665,498 30%
Montana 98% 602,361 13%
New Mexico 100% 1,251,275 12%
Utah 100% 3,166,896 50%
Nevada 100% 2,445,591 29%
Connecticut 100% 1,084,864 15%

Source: HRSA (2019)

Will an Online MSN– PMHNP Degree Cost Less Than the Same Degree On Campus?

affordable online MSN psych mental health degree

It depends on the programs you are considering, but online study does often cost less than getting your degree on campus.

The number of schools offering the MSN – PMHNP degree is relatively small compared to popular APRN specializations such as the MSN in primary care, but tuition rates can vary significantly.  A recent survey of 32 MSN – PMHNP programs revealed that the average tuition cost for an on-campus degree is $48,809. A few private schools charge as much as $98,821 however, or up to $117,126 for out-of-state students pursuing an on-campus degree.

The average cost of an MSN – PMHNP degree online is much more affordable at $37,741. And NKU can provide RNs an outstanding graduate education at an even better tuition rate. NKU's online MSN – PMHNP degree requires 46 credit hours and comes in at a total cost of $27,104, including all tuition and fees.

Do Online Degree Programs Charge Out-of-state Tuition?

At most schools, all students in the online MSN – PMHNP degree program pay the same tuition rate, regardless of where they live and study. While a handful of online nursing programs do charge higher tuition rates for out-of-state students, you'll find this is the exception, not the rule.

All online NKU psych mental health NP students pay the same tuition rate.

Learn more about our MSN PMHNP online program!

Can Online Students Get Financial Aid?

Yes they can!  As long as your nursing program is accredited and you qualify for financial aid, you should have access to the same state and federal aid programs that on-campus students use to fund their education. These include student loans, grants and scholarships.'s extensive list of nursing scholarships is another great resource, and don't forget that your employer may offer tuition reimbursement or other assistance to help pay for school as well.

Are Military Education Benefits an Option to Pay for My Online Degree?

If you have access to education benefits from any branch of the service, you can use those benefits to cover costs for your online MSN – PMHNP degree. Just make sure that the nursing school you choose is accredited, as that's a standard eligibility requirement.

How Long Will It Take to Earn My MSN – PMHNP Degree Online?

Earn an MSN PMHNP degree in less than 2 years

The answer to this question depends largely on the nursing program you choose, and the amount of time you can devote to classes. You should be able to complete your MSN – PMHNP degree online in two or three years with consistent study. But if your study time is limited, or you feel most comfortable taking fewer courses over a longer period, you can also move through the coursework at your own speed.

NKU's MSN – PMHNP degree can be completed online in as little as 22 months, including all coursework and clinicals.

Is It Possible to Keep Working While I Get My MSN – PMHNP Degree Online?

Absolutely! Online MSN – PMHNP degree programs are designed with working nurses in mind. They are perfect for RNs who have busy, complicated lives that may not include working traditional hours or studying on a regular schedule.

Continue working while earning your MSN online

Online courses give you the freedom to study whenever it's most convenient. You can complete school work at the times and places that suit you best, whether that's on your days off or in small increments through the work week. And since your professors and classmates are also RNs, you'll be working with peers who share your passion for nursing and who understand the juggling act that going to college while working as a nurse can be.

What Are Online MSN – PMHNP Courses Like?

They are organized and efficient, providing students with great resources, a clear timeline of readings and assignment deadlines, and opportunities to participate in group and individual discussion of the topics studied.

online MSN PMHNP coursework

Each MSN – PMHNP program uses a different online course management interface, but most online classes operate in a similar manner. Students log in to their course, find the syllabus and textbook information, review the content modules, and then get to work. It's also common for professors to provide lectures on video, notes or presentations, or other material for students that complements the assigned readings.

You can even submit assignments and see your grades online, and easily track your progress throughout the course.

Will I Have Classmates in My Online MSN – PMHNP Courses, or Work Alone?

Chat with classmates online

You will have classmates in online courses, and there are plenty of opportunities to work together and alone. All students participate in conversations on discussion boards, and they also work together online during group assignments or projects at times. Since it's so easy to interact online, many students form friendships in the virtual classroom just as easily as they do in on-campus courses.

Students who are less social, or perhaps less likely to speak up in a traditional classroom environment, sometimes find the distance education format empowering as well. It can be much easier to jump into a group conversation happening in an online course than it is in the real-world classroom at times, especially when people are debating a hot topic. Responding in text allows you to have your say no matter how fast the conversation is moving.

Whatever your preference for interaction, online courses allow you to control the experience, and explore new ways to communicate your thoughts and opinions.

How Much Time Will I Need to Study Each Week?

Some classes require more effort than others, but a good rule of thumb is to set aside 4-5 hours of study time each week for every credit hour your online course is worth. That means 12-15 hours per week for standard 3-hour MSN – PMHNP courses.

This rule is just a helpful guideline to get you started. You may find you need less time to cover lectures, readings and course assignments week to week, or a little bit more.

What If I Get Too Busy and Need to Take a Break From Classes?

Balance school, work and life with an online MSN PMHNP program

With online study, it's much easier to take time off when you need a break. Unlike on-campus courses that require attendance throughout a 16-week semester, online courses average 7 weeks in length, so it's easier to skip a term if you have to without falling behind.

Online courses also run year round at most schools, so no matter what time of year you take a break, there are plenty of opportunities to jump back into courses whenever you're ready.

Do Professors Who Teach Online Have Clinical Experience?

Yes. Professors in online MSN – PMHNP courses are typically RNs with an MSN or doctoral degree who have extensive clinical experience. They come to higher education from careers in many different areas of psychiatric and mental health nursing, and many continue to practice as PMHNPs.

How Do Online Professors Interact With Students?

Professors in online MSN – PMHNP courses will monitor your progress in a variety of ways, and they are also quite accessible when it comes to discussing the material or answering student questions. Professors may interact with you through conversations on the discussion board or provide feedback about your work via comments attached to your graded assignment online. You can also speak with them via email, messaging or video chat, or even in a phone call if that method of communication suits you best.

The important thing to remember is that you are not expected to be totally independent as an online student. When you take an online MSN – PMHNP course, professors are ready and available to assist you, and they are engaged in your learning experience.

Mark Bartruff, NKU MSN PMHNP online student
Every week our professors do reach out and ask if we need anything … they reach out to you on Canvas, on emails, and I have the app on my phone. So any time they send a message … it goes directly to my phone which is very convenient.

It's My First Time Studying Online — What Kind of Computer Do I Need?

Modern computer for online courses

Most online MSN – PMHNP programs do not require that you have a specific type of computer, as course management systems are designed to run well on both PCs and Macs. Just make sure the laptop, desktop or tablet you'll be using can handle the types of programs and activities common to online courses, such as:

  • Internet browsing and email
  • Word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets
  • Streaming audio and video
  • Messaging and video chat

Check out NKU's technical guide for online students for more information on this topic.

Do Online MSN – PMHNP Degree Programs Provide Tech Support For Students?

Support for online students

Yes they do. All online nursing programs want to ensure that students can access their courses and the resources they need to do well, so you will find most schools have good technical support options. At NKU, tech support is available via phone, email or live chat.

What If I Need a Tutor or Help With My Writing?

One-to-one tutoring and writing center support is available to online students in many graduate nursing programs, but these resources will vary depending on the school. Be sure to check with any online MSN – PMHNP program you are interested in to learn more about what they offer.

NKU is known for its wraparound academic support for online students, including its online writing center, peer tutoring, and on-demand professional tutoring services.

Can I Get Remote Access to the Library for Research?

Most nursing schools with online degree programs also have good library access for online students. So yes, in most cases you should be able to do your research at the library from a distance, and use most of the same library resources that you could in person.

NKU MSN – PMHNP students can do research in the library catalog online, \ or call, text, email or chat with a librarian to find an electronic version of any book, journal article or other resource they need.

"If we have trouble finding something on our topic, we can also email our librarian which is not a computer, it's an actual person … [the librarian can] help us within the library and searching for whatever we need for our research." – , NKU MSN PMHNP online student and RN at SUN Behavioral Health in Erlanger, Kentucky

Learn more about our MSN PMHNP online program!


American Nurses Credentialing Center: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan) Certification (PMHNP-BC)

American Association of Nurse Practitioners:
State Practice Environment
NP Fact Sheet

U.S. Veterans Administration: VA Grants Full Practice Authority to Advance Practice Registered Nurses

Northern Kentucky University:
Master of Science in Nursing – Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Online
MSN – PMHNP Courses
MSN – PMHNP Admissions
About Online Learning
IT Helpdesk
Online Tutoring Options at NKU
W. Frank Steely Library
Library DIY

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)

U.S. Department of Education: Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs (DAPIP)

Mental Health America:
Who We Are
The State of Mental Health in America, 2019
The State of Mental Health in America, 2018

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Salary
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Columbus, Ohio
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Salt Lake City, Utah
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Des Moines, Iowa
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Madison, Wisconsin
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Burlington, Vermont
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Hartford, Connecticut
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Las Vegas, Nevada

Merritt Hawkins:
2018 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives
The Silent Shortage: a White Paper Examining Supply, Demand and Recruitment Trends in Psychiatry

HealthLeaders Media: Nurse Practitioners' Primary Care Role for Rural Areas Hobbled by Practice Restrictions

ZipRecruiter: Average Salary of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Locum Tenens Jobs

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):
Health Professional Shortage Areas: Mental Health
Nurse Corps Scholarship Program
Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program
National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program
National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program
State Loan Repayment Program
Designated Health Professional Shortage Area Statistics, First Quarter Fiscal Year 2019 [DOWNLOAD]

Indian Health Service: Loan Repayment Program Nursing Scholarships

Inside Higher Ed: Online Education Ascends