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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 08/12/02
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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New Program Addresses Nursing Shortage in Mental Health Services

Cincinnati--The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing has been awarded $600,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources & Service Administration to develop a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program. The new program, available to students in the 2002-03 school year, will train advanced practice nurses to deliver both psychiatric and primary healthcare services. The grant will be used for the development of courses and clinical sites for the new track.

"One of the new challenges to nursing is to educate practitioners to deliver the broad range of services the public requires," says Elizabeth Betemps, PhD, associate professor of nursing and director for the program. "This program's combination of primary care and psychiatric training for advanced practice nurses prepares graduates to provide a wide spectrum of services to patients."

According to a January 2001 State of Ohio Mental Health Commission report, Ohio's public mental health system has a shortage of well-trained clinicians, is not meeting Ohio's current demands for mental health services and will not meet increasing demands in the future. "The report also indicated the general public prefers primary care providers to treat mental health problems," Dr. Betemps says. "Unfortunately, most primary care providers are unprepared to handle mental health issues. It is crucial new initiatives are established to prepare practitioners to meet these demands."

The new track will blend the Family Nurse curriculum and the Psychiatric Nursing curriculum. Upon completion of the program, graduates will be eligible to sit for two certification examinations, Psychiatric Mental Health Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner.

"Right now, we are targeting our recruitment efforts for the program toward enrolling minority students and students from under-served areas," Dr. Betemps explains. "We would like to see our graduates return to practice in those medically under-served areas."

For more information about enrolling for this program, please contact Elizabeth Karle, at 558-5311.

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