Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)

The Washburn University School of Nursing Post-Graduate Certificate (PMHNP) Program prepares graduates to evaluate and treat individuals, families and groups across the lifespan who have psychiatric disorders. PMHNPs provide care in a variety of clinical settings, using therapeutic techniques, pharmacological treatments, and non-pharmacologic interventions.
Career Forecast Bright OutlookMedian Salary $139,976online
A woman smiles while talking with two people at a table.

Why study PMHNP at Washburn?

The Washburn PMHNP program is completely online and works with you to find clinical placements that are close and convenient to you. The clinical experiences are preceptor-guided and expand your knowledge and skills for this specialty practice.

When you graduate from the PMHNP Post-Graduate Certificate program you are eligible to seek national board certification as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Program plans are available for those entering with the following educational credentials:

  • MSN or DNP-prepared APRNs with licensure and national certification as a nurse practitioner*, certified nurse midwife, clinical nurse specialist, or certified registered nurse anesthetist
  • MSN or doctoral degree in nursing without APRN status

*certification as a family nurse practitioner, adult nurse practitioner, geriatric nurse practitioner, adult geriatric nurse practitioner or pediatric nurse practitioner. 

Online advantage

All classes for the PMHNP program are offered online. Most classes are offered in a self-paced format that you can complete independently and submit assignment by specified due dates.

There are also a limited number of courses each semester that are conducted “live”. These classes meet virtually according to a pre-arranged schedule and provide an opportunity for you to interact with faculty and peers, and to share learning activities and presentations.

Avatar of young woman in an office saying "For most days over the past 2 weeks have you felt unable to stop or control worrying about many different things?"

Virtual Simulation

An example of the innovative approaches used by the PMHNP faculty in the School of Nursing was the creation of a virtual simulation to allow students to practice their psychiatric diagnostic interviewing skills. The simulation covers: 

  • Content Principles 
  • Interview Structure Fundamentals 
  • Process Principles 
  • History of Present Illness Assessment 
  • Assessment of Risk 
  • Review of Systems Assessment 
  • Social History 
  • Diagnostic Interviewing/Psychiatric ROS 
  • Mental Status Exam 
The simulation was developed using the Learn Brite platform. A research study showed that using the virtual simulation significantly improved students’ interviewing skills.

Meet PMHNP Graduates Althea Graham and Wendy Gibson

Althea Graham and Wendy Gibson live a combined 1,225 miles from the campus, but they’ve come to love Washburn University as students in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program.

“I really enjoy this program,” said Graham, a family nurse practitioner in Maryland. “The professors are excellent. As an online experience, Washburn has been great. I 110 percent recommend this school to anyone who wants to come here.”

The completely online program is flexible and works with students to find clinical placements close and convenient to them. The post-graduate certificate prepares students to evaluate and treat people with psychiatric disorders.

“Washburn has a really strong reputation here in Kansas,” said Gibson, a healthcare professional in Salina. “Something that was really important to me is that the instructors are currently working in their fields, so their knowledge is current.”

Both students learned about Washburn from coworkers.

“One of the nurses we hired in the emergency department where I worked was exceptional,” Gibson said. “I thought to myself, if I can be half the nurse that she is, then I want to go where she went.”

Set for Success

CAREER FORECAST: bright outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job opportunities for nurse practitioners to increase by 36% between 2016-2026. The need for primary care and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners is driven by a predicted shortage of primary care physicians and psychiatrists. Additional practitioners are needed due to an aging population and increased emphasis on preventive healthcare services.

Average time to completion

4 semesters

PMHNP certification exam pass rate


(in 2023)

Student/faculty ratio

Clinical 10:1

CNNE Accreditation logoThe baccalaureate degree program in nursing, master’s degree program in nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice program and post-graduate APRN certificate program at Washburn University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

GET IN TOUCH WITH School of Nursing

School of Nursing
Petro Allied Health Center
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621-1117

Phone & Fax
Ph: 785.670.1525
Fax: 785.670.1032

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