Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program

I ended up being one of the first people
in the state of Virginia to to be a psych NP, you know with the
certification, so then I came back to Shenandoah and I said we need psych NPs in Winchester. We need psych NPs in
the area, we need to develop a psych NP program. You can come to Shenandoah with
a bachelor’s degree and a 3.0 grade point average, bachelor’s degree in
nursing, and you can end up, in two years, with a Master of Science in Nursing and
then also a psych NP. So in two years you can get all of the courses that you
need to be able to sit for registration as a psych NP for the certification exam.
And then the other thing that we’ve really seen is, in our country right now,
we don’t have enough psychiatrists. We don’t have enough people doing mental
health, so a lot of the family nurse practitioners would say we’re spending a
lot of our time with people who have mental health problems but we need the
knowledge base and the information. And then also we developed at Shenandoah a
DNP program and the student could either focus in ps ych or they could focus in
FNP, so we’ve admitted students in that way to finish up a DNP, and then they
also have the psych specialty or the FNP specialty. So we developed the platform
that we’re really using right now and that would really just started in
the last year is students can come to campus live but you know we’re gonna
have in every Thursday’s the day that we do the psych NP classes and so they can
come to class live or they can Zoom in. So we have students who will be in the
little pictures of little boxes as far as Zoom, and then we’ll have some that
will be live so that we’ve got contact with them every week, they have the
continual information every week, and in terms of everybody coming to school live,
we do that maybe once or twice a semester at the most. And so it tends to
be I think more cost-effective for them, a little bit easier for their schedule, and
they have a continual flow of content where they’re engaging with us every
semester. I see the future of this program as continuing to have
individuals who have a bachelor’s degree, who want to be a psychiatric nurse
practitioner. I see it the future the program with individuals who perhaps
chose another specialty such as family nurse practitioner or geriatric nurse
practitioner but really want to have that piece of psychiatry, because more
and more what I hear, “We feel good in whatever our specialty is, but we really
need that mental health knowledge. We need the we need the neuroscience, we
need the psychopharmacology, we need the therapies.” Because in our program we
really combine the psychopharmacology piece but also the therapies. There there
are a lot of individuals that need a lot more than medicine and sometimes the
medicine’s not what they need, so we really try to prepare that practitioner
who can work anyplace with any population, you know, in the hospital or out of the hospital, but that also combine medication with with with psychotherapies.
And I see that continuing. We want to make sure that the quality is good.
You know, we want to make sure that we graduate somebody who has the knowledge
and skills, who can do what they need to do and not just read the stuff in the
book but so we make sure that for our program they have 600 clinical hours. We
make sure that those clinical hours are in with children, with aging adults, with
young adults, so that we’re really looking we’re really looking at that so
I see the potential for the program to grow.

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