This is the preliminary (or launch) version of the 2020-21 VCU Bulletin. This edition includes all programs and courses approved by the publication deadline; however we may receive notification of additional program approvals after the launch. The final edition and full PDF version will include these updates and will be available in August prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

The psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner concentration prepares graduates for advanced practice registered nurse roles by developing the knowledge and skills in areas of mental health promotion, as well as mental illness prevention, assessment, diagnosis, treatment and patient education in the care of individuals across the lifespan. Students are exposed to a unique balance of neuroscience, psychological theory and evidence-based practice. Students crystalize their understanding of this content through the use of simulation, interactive case study, discussion board activity, individual and group-based projects, writing assignments, testing and supervised practicum experiences. Informed by a balanced approach to care, students receive focused instruction in both psychotherapy and psychopharmacotherapy.

The PMHNP is prepared to assess, diagnose, treat and educate individuals, families and groups with complex psychiatric-mental health problems and do so with an interprofessional lens of quality and safety. PMHNPs work in clinical settings that include private, state or Veterans Affairs in-patient or outpatient psychiatric facilities, private psychiatric practices, and community mental health centers. PMHMPs also provide services in settings such as correctional facilities, domestic violence shelters, residential substance abuse facilities and schools.

Graduates of the PMHNP concentration are eligible to apply for the Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Program goals

Graduates will achieve advanced nursing practice competencies by demonstrating:

  1. Systems and organizational leadership
  2. Implementation of advanced nursing practice interventions
  3. Effective use of research and technology
  4. Systematic evaluation of interventions and outcomes

Student learning outcomes

Graduates will be able to:

  1. Synthesize knowledge and theories from nursing and related sciences to improve health outcomes for individuals, populations and systems
  2. Integrate prevention and population health concepts into models of care
  3. Demonstrate leadership to foster interprofessional collaboration that advances health care practices and influences health policies
  4. Integrate evidence and organizational science into practice to enhance outcomes
  5. Enhance patient care and safety using quality processes and improvement science
  6. Incorporate current and emerging health care technologies and informatics into practice
  7. Demonstrate core competencies in their advanced practice concentration

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Other information

VCU School of Nursing Student Policy and Information handbooks are located on the school’s website.

Our international and non-native English-speaking students bring different perspectives and new thinking to our nursing programs. To ensure that all incoming student are prepared for the school’s academic rigor, all international applicants and non-native English speaking applicants without a degree from a U.S. high school, college or university must provide additional information with their applications according to the English language proficiency guidelines on the program admission tab.

 

Visit the School of Nursing website for program-specific application instructions.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
CertificateSpring or fallRolling admissions

Note: There are no specific test requirements for this certificate.

To be considered for admission to the School of Nursing, applicants must:

  1. Be eligible for readmission or in good standing at the last college or university attended
  2. Meet the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School 
  3. Submit a completed application with all required materials to the School of Nursing
  4. Have an earned master’s or doctoral degree in nursing from an accredited nursing school (e.g. ACEN, CCNE, CNEA)
  5. Have a current, unrestricted R.N. license from a U.S. state or territory at the time admissions application is submitted (Applicants without a R.N. license in the U.S. should consult with the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools and the Virginia Board of Nursing for the steps needed to obtain a Virginia R.N. license.)
  6. Provide additional information with the application according to the English language proficiency guidelines for applicants who are international or non-native English speakers without a degree from a U.S. high school, college or university (Additional information can be found on the ‘Required materials’ tab of the VCU International Admissions website.)
  7. Submit transcripts and/or syllabi for gap analysis to determine individual plan of study and semester of entry
 

Degree requirements

Twenty-three graduate credit hours are required for the post-master’s Certificate in Nursing with a concentration in psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, a candidate for the post-master’s Certificate in Nursing must be recommended by the faculty and must:

  1. Meet academic requirements of the Graduate School
  2. Complete all requirements for the prescribed curriculum within six calendar years of the first registration for work to be credited toward the degree
  3. Earn a minimum grade of B or pass grade in all nursing courses
  4. Earn a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all work presented for graduation
  5. Conform to School of Nursing policies in respect to pass/fail grading for course work or thesis study

The degree will be granted only after all requirements have been fulfilled and all fees to the university have been paid. Degrees are not granted in absentia unless written request is made to the dean and permission is granted.

Curriculum requirements

Students in nurse practitioner certification concentrations are required to have completed advanced health assessment, pharmacotherapeutics and pathophysiology courses. A gap analysis is required to determine specific plan of study. 

CourseTitleHours
NURS 635Advanced Practice Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practicum I6
NURS 636Advanced Practice Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Seminar3
NURS 637Advanced Practice Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practicum II6
NURS 656Diagnosis and Management of Psychiatric Disorders Across the Lifespan4
NURS 657Advanced Practice Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing: Theory and Practice Across the Lifespan4
Total Hours23

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 23.

Contact
Carla Nye, D.N.P., RN, CPNP-PC, CNE
Clinical associate professor and graduate program director
cnye@vcu.edu
(804) 827-0629

Additional contact
Jeannetta Hollins, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Student Success
vcu_nurse@vcu.edu

Program website: nursing.vcu.edu/programs/post-masters-certificate