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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Post Master’s Certificate program offers licensed Nurse Practitioners and Nurse-Midwives the opportunity to integrate holistic psychiatric care to diverse populations into their practice. This program is designed to enhance APRN-scope of practice to include psychiatric care to individuals and families across the life-span. The PMHNP Post Master’s Certificate program provides clinical experiences in both rural and metropolitan areas of New Mexico. This opportunity exposes students to the unique behavioral health needs of New Mexicans, with a focus on rural and underserved populations.

The PMHNP Post Master’s certificate program provides web-based didactic courses in collaboration with the University of Colorado, Denver; however, students will receive their degree from the University of New Mexico. UNM College of Nursing Faculty will arrange and provide clinical oversight for students in a variety of rural and metropolitan sites. Students are expected to complete a portion of their clinical hours within a rural setting and will be responsible for any costs associated with clinical rotations. For students living in rural areas, efforts are made to accommodate a portion of their clinical rotations in that area, depending on preceptor availability. This program is designed to be full-time; Starting the Fall of each year and is offered in 6 consecutive semesters comprised of 28 credit hours and 650 clinical hours. Following successful completion of this program, students are eligible to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Exam to obtain the national Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification and subsequent licensure in New Mexico and other U.S. States.

Post Master’s graduate education in nursing builds on the MSN curriculum. Students are expected to enter the program with Prerequisite core MSN courses and advanced practice clinical competence. Prerequisite MSN core courses includes:

  • Theoretical Foundations
  • Research in Nursing
  • Health Care Policy
  • Advanced Pathophysiology (3 Credits)
  • Advanced Pharmacological (3 Credits)
  • Advanced Health Assessment (3 Credits)


  • Students without recent (i.e. past 3-5 years) clinical experience may be required to complete the above courses.

If you would like additional information regarding PMHNP ( scope of practice, job opportunities, etc.) the following information is available: American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), American College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP),  American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).


At the completion of the program the graduate will be prepared to:

  1. Provide full scope psychiatric and behavioral health care, utilizing both independent and collaborative approaches, to individuals and families across the lifespan, including management of acute and chronic mental health problems, health promotion, and disease prevention.
  2. Integrate ethical principles in decision-making and evaluation of psychiatric care related to individuals, families, populations and systems of care.
  3. Use and articulate evidence-based research as the basis for practice.
  4. Participate in quality assurance and evaluation of mental health care delivery.
  5. Empower and motivate individuals and families to be full participants in their own psychiatric and behavioral health care.
  6. Assume professional responsibility for maintaining and advancing clinical practice competencies.
  7. Advocate for systems and policies that reduce mental health disparities, facilitate access to behavioral health care, and address cultural diversity and rural populations.
  8. Identify evidence-based psychopharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions in the management of complex acute and chronic psychiatric disorders in diverse groups of adults and across the life-span.
  9. Evaluate complex acute and chronic mental health advanced practice nursing care using selected outcome measures.
  10. Describe the complexity of legal and ethical decision-making with adults who have acute and chronic mental health issues in the primary, secondary, and tertiary care settings.

Admission Requirements

Admission Advisement Guide – Fall 2017

  • Applicants must have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited school or university or equivalent.
  • Applicants must have a Master’s degree as a Certified Nurse Midwife or a Certified Nurse Practitioner from an accredited college or university, with an upper-division major in nursing. Graduates from non-accredited programs [N.L.N. or C.C.N.E] should contact the College of Nursing advisement for more information.
  • Have a minimum of one to two years of work experience as a nurse practitioner or nurse-midwife.
  • Have a minimum grade point average for MSN work of B (3.0) or better.
  • Must be registered in or eligible for nurse practitioner (NP) or nurse-midwife licensure in New Mexico with a New Mexico NP or nurse-midwife license obtained within the first term enrolled.
  • Complete the online application. The online application can be accessed by clicking on the link. Letters of recommendation (one supervisor recommendation and one peer recommendation [peer must hold certification in the same specialty as applicant]) are required, letter of intent, and a professional resume are required as part of the application process. See the online application guidelines for further information.
  • An interview is required as part of the admissions process.
  • Exceptions to any program admission criterion will be considered on an individual basis and are at the discretion of the Admissions Committee with a recommendation to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs or Dean of the College of Nursing.


Curriculum Information-Fall      Curriculum Information-Spring

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take the PMHNP program part-time?

The PMHNP Post Master’s certification is a full-time program with 6 sequential semesters starting Fall 2017. Please see curriculum for specific information.

Are the non-clinical courses offered on the Web?

Yes, they are offered on the Web in collaboration with the University of Colorado, Denver. UNM Faculty will be working in collaboration with the University of Colorado, Denver. Students will be expected to use Canvas (University of Colorado-Denver) web-based systems. However, IT support will be provided by University of New Mexico, College of Nursing.

What are the PMHNP courses?

The PMHNP didactic courses are:

  • N583 Psychotherapy, behavior change, and health promotion / disease prevention across the life span
    • 3 credit hours
  • N584 Integrated behavioral health care in common psychiatric presentations
    • 3 credit hours
  • N585 Assessment, neurobiology, & psychopharmacology of psychiatric disorders across the lifespan
    • 3 credit hours
  • N586 Diagnosis & Management of adults for PMHNP
    • 3 credit Hours
  • N587 Diagnosis & management of children & older adults for PMHNP 3 hours
    • 3 credit hours

The PMHNP practicums are:

  • N588 Advanced Practicum I
    • 3 credit hours-150 Clinical hours
  • N588 Advanced Practicum II
    • 3 credit hours-150 Clinical hours
  • N589 Advanced Practicum III
    • 3 credit hours-150 clinical hours
  • N595 Fieldwork Practicum IV
    • 4 credit hours-200 clinical hours

What is the total number of clinical hours required, and will I be able to receive credit for working in a psychiatric facility or clinic?

This concentration requires a total of 650 clinical hours. Only students who have had previous coursework and/or competency-based clinical hours in psychiatric evaluation and management during their initial MSN program will be considered (as per faculty discretion) to have clinical hours reduced in N595. Students will need to provide a syllabus from their school of origin to be considered for a reduction in clinical hours for this program. There is no credit given for working in a psychiatric facility or clinic post MSN graduation.

Will I be required to work in rural areas outside of Albuquerque?

We use a variety of sites, including sites in rural areas. All students in this concentration are expected to travel outside of the Albuquerque area for a portion of their clinical rotation. It is the responsibility of UNM CON faculty to find clinical placement for students. If students are from a rural area, we make every effort to place those students in that area for their clinical rotation; however, we cannot guarantee clinical site or preceptor availability in all locations.

If I am a nurse practitioner or a nurse-midwife, how can I get a Post Master PMHNP certification?

Students with an NP or nurse-midwife certification who have already completed the core courses can apply for the Post Masters PMHNP certification program.

All students will be responsible for taking the required PMHNP courses and clinical practica.

If you would like more information regarding NPs in general (scope of practice, job opportunities, etc.), the following websites are recommended: American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), American College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP), or the website for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).