Jul 23, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Nursing - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) (BPMH) - DNP

74 credits

A Plan of Study is available on the Doctor of Nursing Practice website.

Advanced standing options available for students who have already completed a master’s degree in nursing (see below).

Description of Program (DNP)

Grounded in an environment of scholarship, the mission of the WSU Department of Nursing is to educate knowledgeable caring, ethical, creative, and accountable nurse leaders who provide person- and relationship-centered care for individuals, families, groups, communities and populations in a diverse society. This mission is based on the beliefs that:

  • a caring, diverse, and respectful community provides the best environment for students to learn how to care for themselves and others
  • optimal learning to care for self and others occurs in a caring, diverse and respectful community
  • faculty and students are accountable for maintaining and modeling professional standards of moral, ethical, and legal conduct
  • recognizing and valuing human diversity is essential to person- and relationship-centered care
  • individuals have different ways of knowing and learning about the world
  • creativity and innovation contribute to continuous quality improvement and sustainability
  • an enriched learning environment is the responsibility of faculty, staff, and students
  • effective nurse leaders engage in continuous professional development and lifelong learning

Graduates of the DNP programs are prepared for a variety of advanced nursing roles (e.g. nurse leaders, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists). These graduates also have the foundation for continued graduate studies (i.e. PhD). Graduates of the DNP program are prepared for the highest level of clinical nursing practice.

Nursing science core courses, taken by all graduate students, build on students’ baccalaureate nursing knowledge to integrate scientific underpinnings for practice, understand nursing information management and decision making, and advocate for health promotion. Students develop evidence-based knowledge and skills to enhance the quality and safety of health care while demonstrating leadership and professionalism. Courses within the selected programs of Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner ; Adult-Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist ; Family Nurse Practitioner ; Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner ; Nursing Leadership: Nursing and Organizational Leadership ; or Nursing Leadership: Practice and Leadership Innovations  provide specialized knowledge and practice opportunities in each advanced nursing role. A unique feature of this program is the targeted emphasis on the nurse’s use of advanced knowledge and skills of health promotion with individuals, families, and systems in diverse populations to address health care needs within complex environments.


Students choosing the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program are prepared with specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide care across the lifespan to individuals, families, groups, and communities with behavioral and mental health problems/disorders or the potential for such problems. In addition to nursing science core courses and direct care core courses, content includes psychopharmacology, psychopathology, neurobiology, psychiatric assessment and diagnostic interpretation, and therapeutic modalities. Clinical practicums under the supervision of qualified preceptors will focus on psychiatric-mental health care in a variety of specialty areas with a rural emphasis. All Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students complete a clinical project within the clinical setting. The Graduate Certificate (GC) is for nurses who have completed a previous graduate degree in nursing from a nationally accredited graduate nursing program and desire to prepare for certification as a PMHNP. The PMHNP program prepares grads to take the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner examination.

Graduate Electives (3 credits)

Choose 3 credits at the graduate level.

Clinical Hours

1260 Clinical Hours (1 clinical credit = 60 hours of contact time)

Advanced Standing

Applicants who have a graduate degree in nursing are eligible to apply for advanced standing in the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program.

Advanced Standing: Option A

Option A is for applicants who have a graduate degree in nursing, are certified as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs), and have evidence of having completed advanced physical assessment, advanced pharmacology, advanced pathophysiology, and advanced health promotion. If no evidence of these course or equivalent exists on the academic transcript, courses must be completed within the program. A prerequisite to NURS 701 is a graduate level statistical methods course; if no evidence of this course or equivalent exists on the academic transcript, STATS 601 or the equivalent must be completed. A total of 1,000 clinical/practicum hours are required for all graduates of a DNP program. Total credits = 43 credits (1140 clinical hours).

Advanced Standing: Option B

Option B is for applicants who have a master’s degree in nursing, but are not APRN certified. A pre-requisite to NURS 701 is a graduate-level statistical methods course; if no evidence of this courses or equivalent exists on the academic transcript, STATS 601 or the equivalent must be completed. A total of 1,000 clinical/practicum hours are required for all graduates of a DNP program. This program provides 1200 clinical hours. Remaining hours my come from a previous master’s degree (appropriateness will be determined by faculty). Additional clinical/practicum hours may be necessary. Total Credits = 54 (1200 clinical hours).