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Psychiatric Mental Health NP Major

Approximately 1 in 5 U.S. adults live with mental illness. In turn, mental disorders are significantly comorbid with other chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, adding to the complexity of caring for these individuals and the burden of illness on the patient. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP) are strategically capable of providing comprehensive, integrated mental health and social care services in community-based, rural and urban health care settings.

The Duke MSN Program focuses on developing the knowledge and skills necessary to deliver psychiatric mental health advanced practice nursing to all ages, especially to those in rural and underserved areas. Intensive courses, state-of-the-art simulation techniques designed to prepare the PMHNP for telepsychiatry practices and immersion in clinical rotations maximize the learning experience and enable students to become active members of an interprofessional mental health care team.

On-campus intensives and state-of-the-art simulation techniques supplement an established program designed to prepare nurse practitioners for management of patients across all psychiatric and mental health care settings. Examples of practice settings include emergency departments, inpatient hospitalist and intensive care services, residential mental health care facilities, DoD/VA facilities, Department of Corrections and substance abuse treatment facilities.


  • Immersion in the clinical environment maximizes the learning experience and enables students to become active members of an interprofessional health care team.
  • Experienced faculty with clinical backgrounds in various areas of pediatric, adult, veteran and military, outpatient and inpatient mental health patient care areas.
  • Certification in telepsychiatry upon completion of program.
  • Option to do certificate in veterans’ health care program. 
  • Extensive resources for instructional support, including high-fidelity simulation equipment with expert simulation instructors to guide practice, internet support and multimedia availability to promote distance-based learning.
  • 49 credit hours, including 616+ clinical hours

Enrollment Options

  • MSN and Post-Graduate Certificate

*To start with the Post-Graduate Certificate cohort, candidates must currently be nurse practitioners.

Successful students in this advanced practice program must have a strong medical-surgical clinical foundation as many of the patients in this population have medial comorbidities. Applicants must have a minimum of at least one year of neuro or medical/surgical nursing experience. Additional mental health and substance abuse nursing experience is helpful but not necessary for entrance to this program. At the time of application, students must have a current BLS certificate and maintain it throughout the program of study.

Students are encouraged to submit recommendations from mentors or colleagues who can speak to their preparedness for graduate-level education and advanced clinical practice. Recommendations submitted by physicians, nurse managers, advanced practice nurses and other nursing leaders are required.

Graduates are eligible to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner examination for the Psychiatric-Mental Health NP (Across the Lifespan) national certification.

Learn more about our curriculum.