School of Nursing

Psych Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Two students sit on grass on a sunny day; one faces the camera and one we see from behind.

Our D.N.P. PMHNP program features:

  • Quality clinical placements preparing practice-ready graduates.
  • Low student-to-faculty ratio.
  • Curriculum that emphasizes a strong life-span focus.
  • 100% board certification pass rate the past six years.
  • The majority of graduates are employed by graduation.

The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program prepares graduates for advanced specialty practice with a dual emphasis on intervention through psychotherapy and psychopharmacology.  PMHNP's intervene with vulnerable populations and promote mental health across the lifespan. They work with children, adolescents, adults, and older persons in various settings, including community mental health clinics, public health departments, hospitals and outpatient mental health clinics, health maintenance organizations, government facilities, schools of nursing, and independent private practice.

Coursework – Offered for students in Portland and regionally throughout Oregon

Courses are supported through Sakai, a web-based course management system that allows asynchronous delivery of additional class materials and discussion forums in addition to campus-based intensives.

For the Portland-based PMHNP Program, student learning is provided via in-person classroom, synchronous online, and asynchronous online modalities. For Distance PMHNP program students in Oregon, all classes may be accessed online through our WebEx system using both synchronous and asynchronous formats, depending on the class.

PMHNP Oregon-based distance students

In Oregon, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners deliver critically important services, especially to rural and medically underserved populations. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP)  apply advanced knowledge and clinical skills to deliver quality mental health care. We commit to working with you to advance your education and career goals. 

Recognizing that those in rural areas typically need to obtain their education while meeting other obligations in their communities (i.e., for work and/or family), we use technology and innovation to allow you to complete coursework in your home as much as possible. At the same time, we work to ensure your education is of the highest quality and prepares you for independent practice, which is essential for clinicians in rural areas. The distance program allows students the opportunity to connect with fellow students in the region; the regions are Western Oregon in Monmouth, Eastern Oregon in La Grande, and Southern Oregon in Ashland and Klamath Falls.

Distance students will be required to travel to one of the regional campuses. Travel varies according to term and specialty program; some terms require no travel and others may require visits up to twice a month. Travel is minimized during the winter term.  These sessions on the regional campus are for clinical supervision and skills testing. Attendance of intensive sessions on the Portland campus is approximately once per term*, usually a maximum of three days.

Additionally, students may need to attend clinical immersion experiences in Portland when similar experiences are unavailable in home communities ( for example, acute psychiatric hospital NP role). These will be arranged in consultation with each student to minimize disruption. Our commitment to transparency and communication about delivery methods and required travel includes having schedules available three months in advance.

*OHSU, as an Oregon state institution of higher learning, uses a quarter system.

What you will study and learn

The PMHNP program at OHSU School of Nursing has earned a national reputation for emphasizing primary mental healthcare. Students study the interaction among biological and neurophysiological vulnerabilities, psychological and developmental factors, and social and physical environmental stressors.

The program emphasizes mental health nursing interventions, including psychotherapy and psychopharmacology.  Supervised clinical experience is available primarily in community-based agencies and programs. Supervised clinical experiences include an acute inpatient experience and outpatient practice with an emphasis on the seriously mentally ill. At least one clinical placement is long-term to engage in a richer practice experience focusing on becoming practice-ready. Students will gain experience with the full age continuum. 

Students in this program can complete the D.N.P. degree in three years and become licensed as a PMHNP.  A practice-focused curriculum will support the career trajectory for those pursuing expert clinical practice and leadership as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. Graduates are eligible to sit for the ANCC PMHNP certification examination as required for licensure as a PMHNP.

D.N.P. student learning outcomes (applies to all post-master’s D.N.P. and all APRN specialties)

  1. Demonstrate readiness to enter clinical practice via specialty competencies with the appropriate scientific knowledge, and considerations for its application to practice.
  2. Apply ethical principles along with the standards of professional conduct to clinical care, research, and education.
  3. Evaluate emerging healthcare systems and policy that influence delivery of cost effective patient care.
  4. Generate entry level practice scholarship through the completion of a clinical practice improvement project based on the principles of improvement science.
  5. Model interprofessional communication and collaboration to improve individual and/or population health outcomes.
  6. Identify and address gaps in professional knowledge through ongoing reflection to support the principle of life-long learning.

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner student learning outcomes

  1. Develop therapeutic relationships as a basis for provision mental health care across the lifespan.
  2. Independently conduct a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation and a diagnostic and biopsychosocial formulation for mental health and psychiatric problems across the lifespan.    
  3. Utilize best practices and evidence to develop treatment plans in collaboration with patients, families and other care providers.   
  4. Manage the treatment of psychiatric disorders and mental health problems for safe and effective care across the lifespan including evaluation for quality outcomes.    
  5. Use effective communication skills and technologies to provide collaborative care for diverse communities.
  6. Demonstrate standards of professional conduct including, integrity, honesty, self-reflection, ethical principles and legal responsibilities in professional activities.  
  7. Advocate for quality outcomes in mental health systems through policy change and quality improvement.

Master of Nursing

The Master of Nursing Advanced Practice programs listed below are NOT accepting new students. The Student Learning Outcomes posted here are only valid for students who have already matriculated in the programs and are completing their studies. 

The general competencies that must be met for the master of nursing for the AGACNP, FNP, HSOL, MNE, NA, NMW, PNP and PMHNP programs are:

  1. Apply advanced knowledge in the science of a specialty area of advanced nursing practice.
  2. Use emerging information and health technologies to access current research and health care data to improve patient care.
  3. Make sound, culturally appropriate and ethically grounded clinical judgments based on critical analysis of the best available evidence.
  4. Demonstrate the leadership skills that are essential for influencing policy and organizational systems for improving patient outcomes.
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Scholarships available

OHSU offers a variety of scholarships that can help fund your education.

OHSU technical standards policy

This policy ensures that all OHSU degree or certificate candidates possess the skills and abilities necessary to complete the curriculum successfully. Review the OHSU Technical Standards policy.