The University of Cincinnati College of Nursing now offers nurses a wider scope of advanced practice options to include two new postgraduate programs: a Psychiatric- Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) certificate and a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP), both of which are opened for enrollment in the spring 2014 semester.
"With the changing health care landscape, we’re anticipating there will be a greater need for nurse practitioners and we are committed to prepare them to move into those practices seamlessly,” says Suzanne Perraud, PhD, the college’s senior associate dean for academic affairs.
The PMHNP certification is a nurse practitioner subspecialty based on an integrative model that takes into consideration both the patient’s physical and mental health, which in turn enhances a patient’s treatment and outcome, says the program director, associate professor Diana McIntosh, PhD.
McIntosh, who was formerly the vice president of clinical services with the Hamilton County Mental Health and Recovery Services board, says she feels that PMHNP designation is a good complement for nurses who have a master’s in nursing and want to enhance their psychiatric skills.
The program will allow the PMHNPs to develop unique competencies that position them to seek employment in a variety of settings like primary care or outpatient mental health clinics, psychiatric emergency services, hospitals, private practice, or community health centers.
McIntosh says people are beginning to recognize the mind body connection "but there is a real shortage of nurse practitioners who can integrate both.”
The PMHNP certification course work is offered mostly online and takes four semesters to complete. Once the coursework is complete the student is eligible to sit for licensure to prescribe medicines specific to mental health issues.
The second program opened for enrollment is the NNP subspecialty, a designation that focuses on acute and chronic management of patients from birth until age 2. This sub-specialty is offered as a BSN to MSN to nurses who desire a career with acutely ill newborns, following them for resulting chronic conditions, says Perraud.
Because neonatal units in area hospitals are very much in need of these graduates, but there are fewer openings than with other nurse specialties, Perraud says the college is partnering with Wright State University to meet the need over a wider geographic area.