Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

This track prepares nurse practitioners to care for individuals across the life span who have mental health disorders.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) typically practice in primary care settings, such as:

  • Private practices
  • Clinics
  • Mental health institutions
  • Community health centers

Program Details

  • 75 credits
  • 1,000 hours of practicum experience
  • Average completion time: 4 to 5 years
  • Online courses
  • Minimum of 7 weekend immersions on-campus in Spokane, WA. The average is 2 per year. Students participate in the Culminating Objective Structured Clinical Evaluations or OSCEs
  • Faculty will make site visits each semester to evaluate students in their practicum settings
  • DNP project

At the completion of the program, students are eligible to take the national certification exam, which, if passed, makes them eligible for advanced practice licensure.

Questions?
Contact: 

Amy Smith
Call or Text (509) 313-6243 or (866) 380-5323
Email: smitha2@gonzaga.edu 

Course Descriptions

DNP CORE

NURS 561: Information Technology & Data Management - 3 credits

This course explores the many uses of information technology and data management. The course provides learners with the knowledge and skills in information and healthcare technology needed to enhance communication and inter-professional collaboration in the current healthcare environment. The process of locating, accessing, and analyzing information and data is applied to advanced practice roles, enhancing patient safety, quality and outcomes, and improving population health.

NURS 563: Evidence-Based Practice for Quality and Safety - 3 credits

This course provides learners with a theoretical and practical foundation for identifying and critically appraising evidence from qualitative and quantitative research traditions. The emphasis is on the examination of the essential elements of evidence-based-practice, including the formulation of answerable questions to address quality improvement and safety in a variety of advance practice roles and the systematic search for research evidence that can be used to answer researchable questions.

NURS 700: Theoretical Foundations for Doctor of Nursing Practice - 3 credits

This course focuses on examining philosophical and scientific knowledge development in nursing practice and the implications for practice. Emphasis will be on the analysis, critique, and application of nursing middle-range and other related theories to nursing practice.  Prerequisites: NURS 563 and 708

NURS 708: Inferential Statistics - 3 credits

The purpose of this course is to review statistical concepts, such as descriptive statistics, probability distributions (binomial and normal), sampling distributions, inferences (point estimates and confidence intervals), hypotheses testing (one-sample tests, two-sample tests), analysis of variance (ANOVA), as well as simple linear regression and multiple regression analysis. The course emphasizes the application of statistical concepts to analyze research for best available evidence to support quality nursing practice. The course also provides students with hands-on experience in using statistical software (MegaStat) to assist in making effective decisions.

NURS 710: Population-Focused Care - 3 credits

This course focuses on developing and evaluating health promotion and disease prevention interventions targeting population-based health. The environmental, socioeconomic, and cultural context of health behaviors will be explored. The use of epidemiology and evidence-based research to inform clinical prevention programs is emphasized. Students will analyze the ethical and policy considerations of implementing a clinical prevention program.  Prerequisites: NURS 563 and 708 Prerequisite or Corequisite: NURS 700

NURS 720: Evidence Synthesis for Practice - 3 credits

This course will address how to develop answerable questions relevant to the role of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) to address specific patient/client problems or situations and critically appraise types of data generated through research in both qualitative and quantitative traditions. The focus is on evaluating the adequacy of research questions, methodologies, and the presentation of findings. The DNP will be prepared to use epidemiological data to identify the causes of disease and to evaluate health services. In addition, the course emphasizes an examination of knowledge transformation, including the systematic search for research evidence to answer researchable questions and the synthesis of evidence for knowledge translation across a body of research.

NURS 730: Clinical Program Development, Implementation, and Evaluation - 3 credits

This course emphasizes the steps involved in the development of a business plan for creation of a new clinical service or program or a clinical practice. Students will conduct a needs assessment, develop mission and values statements, create the program design, conduct a financial, legal, and ethical analysis, and design evaluation strategies and measures. (DNP Essentials II, II, IV, V) Prerequisite: NURS 700

NURS 740: Quality Improvement, Information Management, and Leadership in Health Care - 3 credits

This course emphasizes strategic planning and management, systems and organizational theories, quality improvement, and information management. It acquaints students with the processes, tools, and techniques of strategic planning that will enable them to manage patient populations and to contribute effectively to strategic thinking and action in health systems. The course focuses on leadership and the process of health care delivery from a systems perspective, emphasizing continuous process improvement as crucial to achieving high quality outcomes. (DNP Essentials II and IV) Prerequisite: NURS 561 and 700

NURS 750: Health Policy - 3 credits

This course emphasizes the leadership role of the DNP in influencing health policy makers and health policy development emphasizing interprofessional collaboration. The effect of nursing scholarship on health policy and advocacy will be explored. The regulatory and ethical environments that impact DNP practice are examined considering social justice and Ignatian values. Strategies for designing and leading the implementation of public, professional, and institutional policies relating to local, regional, national, and international health care and its delivery are considered. (DNP Essentials V, VI)

Prerequisite: NURS 700

Nurse Practitioner CORE

NURS 523: Advanced Pathophysiology - 3 credits

This course seeks to assist learners to understand the cellular pathophysiological basis of disease. The content emphasizes cellular, genetic, and biochemical processes. Pathophysiological and physiological concepts form the basis for critical thinking and decision making when assessing and treating individuals with various disease processes.

NURS 524: Advanced Pharmacology - 3 credits

The course is designed to prepare the learner for an advanced practice role with prescriptive authority. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic principles will be applied to the pharmacotherapeutic treatment of disease. Medications will be studied according to therapeutic categories and drug classes within the framework of organ-based pathophysiologic disease state processes. Emphasis will be placed on the medications that are commonly used (top 200 drugs) in primary care settings with special attention given to evidence-based medication selection, patient education, and medication monitoring.  Prerequisite: NURS 523

NURS 600: Advanced Health Assessment - 3 credits


This course is designed to extend and refine the assessment skills of the Registered Nurse in preparation for an advanced clinical practice role. The student will learn to perform physical, developmental, mental, emotional, cultural, social, and family assessments. Students will review anatomy and physiology related to each biological system being studied. The course emphasizes in-depth techniques for assessing each body system in individuals throughout the life span. Lectures will focus on the use of a variety of health assessment techniques, including history taking skills, physical assessment, and other diagnostic assessment tools. Application of diagnostic reasoning and patient education to the assessment process will be included in the content. Two, 2-day, on-campus immersions required.  Prerequisites: NURS 523 and NURS 524 Corequisite: NURS 6XX Adv Health Assessment Practicum

NURS 601: Advanced Health Assessment Practicum - 1 credit


This course is the practicum course paired with NURS 600 Advanced Health Assessment. The focus is on the practice of advanced assessment skills within a primary care setting. Students must complete 60 clinical hours in an approved clinical setting while supervised by a nurse practitioner, physician or physician assistant (unless in a state that requires the preceptor to be either an NP or MD).  Co-requisite: NURS 600

Nurse Practitioner Specialty Courses

NURS 652M: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Concepts I - 1-4 credits

This course is designed as an introduction to advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nursing with emphasis on application of concepts to practice. The scope of practice and standards of the psychiatric nurse practitioner are analyzed. Major emphasis is placed on building a therapeutic relationship. Assessing and diagnosing major psychiatric disorders, mental health promotion/prevention strategies, and diagnostic decision-making are stressed (differential diagnosis). Risk assessments, formulating diagnoses using DSM 5, and clinical interventions considering variations across the lifespan are emphasized. Selected theories of interpersonal psychotherapy, human development, recovery, trauma-informed care are analyzed. The biological bases of psychosocial behavior and their implications in psychiatric care are explored. One, 2-day, on-campus immersion required.  Prerequisites: NURS 523, NURS 524, NURS 600

NURS 653M: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Concepts II - 3 credits

The focus of this course is on the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic mental health issues. Emphasis is on individual and group psychotherapy across the lifespan. Development of therapeutic relationships and interpersonal processes in psychotherapy are examined. Continued development of therapeutic relationships, self-awareness, and skill in assessment, diagnosis, and care formulation are emphasized. One, 2-day, on-campus immersion required.  Prerequisite: NURS 652M Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Concepts I

NURS 654M: Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Concepts III - 3 credits


This course will examine various theories of care for vulnerable populations across the lifespan suffering from mental and emotional distress, including co-occurring disorders. The most common psychiatric disorders within these populations as well as various psychotherapeutic approaches and the most common psychiatric medications used to manage the illnesses to restore health will be examined. One, 2-day, on-campus immersion required.  Prerequisite: NURS 652M Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Concepts I

NURS 670: Psychopharmacology - 3 credits

This course focuses on the principles and theories of psychopharmacology. Epigenetics, genetics, neurochemical communication, and circuits in psychopharmacology are explored. The course examines the actions and uses of specific psychotropic medication, the required monitoring, and the management of behavior and mental illness.  Prerequisites: NURS 523 and NURS 524

NURS 671: Care of the Frail Elder - 3 credits


This course focuses on the clinical management of the elder in primary care. Emphasis is on principles of gerontological care, common syndromes, ethical issues, abuse/neglect, and care options within the long-term care (LTC) continuum. The course includes a clinical application experience in a LTC setting. One, 4-day, on-campus immersion required.

NURS 672: Mental Health in Advanced Practice - 3 credits

This course is foundational for advanced practice nurses when providing care to patients with common mental health disorders. Content includes neurophysiologic, genomic, environmental, social, and developmental theories to understand the etiology and presentation of common mental health conditions. Psychopharmacological and non-pharmacological principles and modalities for treatment of common mental health problems will be explored.

Nurse Practitioner Practicum Courses

Practicum courses can be taken for a variable number of credits. Sixty clinical hours equals one credit hour. A minimum of 10 NP practicum credits, or 600 clinical hours, summed between the practicum courses is required for successful completion of the program. Clinical practicum hours are required each semester once the student has started the NP Specialty Courses until program completion to assure competence. This means students may need to complete more than 600 total clinical hours (10 credits).

NURS 661M: Psychiatric Mental Health Practicum I - 1-3 credits

This clinical course is paired with the didactic course Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Concepts I. Emphasis is on utilizing the theories, concepts, and skills necessary to assess and diagnose acute and chronic psychiatric disorders and intervene using evidenced-based approaches.

NURS 662M: Psychiatric Mental Health Practicum II - 1-3 credits

This clinical course is paired with the didactic course Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Concepts II. Emphasis is on the application of treatment interventions including medication management and individual and group psychotherapy for the adult clients with acute, chronic, and co-occurring disorders.

NURS 663M: Psychiatric Mental Health Practicum III - 1-4 credits

This clinical course is paired with the didactic course Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Concepts III. Emphasis is on the application of treatment interventions including medication management and individual and group psychotherapy for the child/adolescent and elderly client with acute, chronic, and co-occurring disorders.

DNP Project Courses

NURS 761: Integrative Application of Evidence for Advanced Practice Seminar I - 2 credits

This is the first of a series of four seminars that provide the DNP student with mentored opportunities to identify a practice issue and develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate an independent, analytic, DNP project focusing on problems of advanced nursing practice within specific populations. Each seminar course builds on the knowledge and practice expertise of the DNP student culminating in the completion of a DNP project. The range of projects will be varied as they relate to the DNP student’s unique area of nursing, e.g., quality improvement, analyzing policy, designing and using databases, designing and evaluating new models of care, collaboration with researchers to answer clinical questions, program development, implementation, and evaluation. The student also examines the DNP role in relation to clinical scholarship and leadership.  Co-requisite: NURS 701

NURS 762: Integrative Application of Evidence for Advanced Practice Seminar II - 2 credits

The DNP student refines the design of his or her DNP project, including the data collection and evaluation plans. Students must successfully complete an oral defense of the planned project prior to beginning implementation.  Co-requisite: NURS 702

NURS 763: Integrative Application of Evidence for Advanced Practice Seminar III - 1 credit

The DNP student continues to refine the evidence-based DNP project specific to a population of interest within a practice setting.  Co-requisite: NURS 703

NURS 764: Integrative Application of Evidence for Advanced Practice Seminar IV - 1 credit

In this final seminar course, the student will present the final defense of his or her DNP project through an oral presentation that addresses the topic of interest, the development and implementation of the project, how it addressed the needs of a selected population, and an evaluation of the project and outcomes. Students will apply knowledge and skills obtained in the didactic and integrative courses to address the ethical, legal, financial, and organizational aspects of the DNP project.  Co-requisite: NURS 704

NURS 701: DNP Practicum I: Application of Evidence-Based Practice - 1-3 credits

This practicum course provides the student an opportunity to work within a practice setting to begin to design his or her DNP project. The student also begins to establish the expanded advanced nursing DNP role focusing on a population of interest. The student is required to submit an individualized practicum proposal and objectives for the practicum experience.  Co-requisite: NURS 761

NURS 702: DNP Practicum II: Application of Evidence-Based Practice - 1-3 credits

This practicum course provides the student an opportunity to work within a practice setting to begin to design his or her scholarly project. The student also begins to establish the expanded advanced nursing DNP role focusing on a population of interest. The student is required to submit an individualized practicum proposal and objectives for the practicum experience.  Co-requisite: NURS 762

NURS 703: DNP Practicum III: Application of Evidence-Based Practice - 1-3 credits

The DNP student continues to work with a faculty mentor to implement his or her DNP project. The student also establishes the expanded advanced nursing DNP role focusing on a population of interest. The student is required to submit an individualized practicum proposal and objectives for the practicum experience.  Co-requisite: NURS 763

NURS 704: DNP Practicum III: Application of Evidence-Based Practice - 1-3 credits

In this final practicum course, the DNP student completes the implementation and evaluation of his or her DNP project. The student also completes the final written report of the project and disseminates the findings through preparation of a manuscript suitable for a peer-reviewed publication along with an abstract that is submitted for a podium or poster presentation at a major conference. The student is required to submit an individualized practicum proposal and objectives for the practicum experience.  Co-requisite: NURS 764

NURS 705: DNP Immersion - 1 credit

The on-campus “immersion” must be completed by all DNP students within a semester or two of enrolling in NURS 701 and NURS 761. This course introduces students to Jesuit values and ethical decision-making. Students also learn about the DNP role, expectations, and the importance of crystallizing their ideas for their DNP projects early in the program. Requirements for completion of an IRB application, guidelines for formation of a DNP Project Team, the proposal and final defense processes, and steps to complete the DNP project are emphasized. Students are oriented to library databases for distance students and creation of an electronic portfolio. They are introduced to the fundamentals of writing for publication and participate in an interactive session designed to bring focus to their scholarly projects. One, 2 to 3-day, on-campus immersion required.

Program information is subject to change.

Post-Baccalaureate - DNP - PMHNP

75

Credits

$1020

Per Credit

7

On-Campus Immersions

10

Semesters - Average Completion Time