whill08 1,948 Views
Joined Oct 3, '10.
Posts: 30 (37% Liked)
I did not attend an online university for my pmhnp, but a former nursing colleague of mine went to WGU for her BSN and was not accepted into my MSN program due to the pass/fail grading at WGU. A passing GPA of 3.0 was awarded for her BSN courses, which combined with her ADN grades (a good gpa if I recall correctly) was not competitive enough to get into the masters program. I'm not sure how competitive the purely online schools are as far as gpa, but it's definitely something to consider before you start your BSN.
Did someone forget to tell you that a great many mental health patients have physical problems?
Did someone forget to tell you that a great many mental health patients have physical problems? That's why I do a complete ROS with every new patient and followup every visit for any new problems. That means you need to know all physical conditions that can mimic psych conditions…and there are a lot, plus all the meds that can cause psych symptoms. I was on vacation last week but the week before I ordered PT gait training for a patient that had been given a cane with no instructions on how to use it. I also ordered an OT consult to teach a patient how to use assistive devices since he had so much trouble getting his boots on due to back pain. Then, since primary care wouldn't order a urology consult on a patient with ED, I did so. Normally, I would send him back to primary care since he was on no meds that cause ED. But, since he had "emotional distress" due to the ED and that primary care wouldn't help him, he now fell in my backyard and I got things going. See how this works?
I am one week away from my last semester of a masters PMHNP program at a state university and we had a psychopharmacology course and pharmacology content in all of our specialty theory courses. I do agree that the majority of the generic masters courses are not all that helpful, especially for the psych specialty (sorry but I never plan to use much of what we did in health assessment). It is also true, from what I have seen, that the primary role is med management. However I do know some PMHNPs that do therapy as well, but personally I do not feel educationally prepared to do in depth therapy. I do feel that come May when I graduate I will have a sound knowledge base to begin my practice on. The advise of getting inpatient psych experience is very good, you will see the nitty gritty of mental health that is hard to come by anywhere else. Good luck!
I had about a year and a half of inpatient psych experience before I started my program. I will have about four and half by the time I graduate next May (three year program). I think experience in psych is a wise choice before making the commitment to become a PMHNP. That being said, I have also dabbled in other areas. I've worked medical home health and PRN at a family practice clinic, experience in these other areas only cemented my interest in psych. My advice would be to focus on your new role as an RN and start honing your psych skills, i.e. therapeutic communication, and then start deciding where you want to go with your education/career.
I agree that RN experience is not technically "necessary", but it makes the transition to graduate coursework/clinical much easier. Something as simple as therapeutic patient interaction cannot be learned from a book, but is a skill that comes with experience. My point is that textbooks and reality are two very different worlds. Yes the APRN role is different than the RN role, but remember you will be practicing advanced nursing and should build upon your nursing knowledge. I have no doubt there are PMHNPs that had no prior nursing experience that go on to be wonderful providers. However, I have seen the few classmates I have that don't have psych nursing experience struggle more so than the rest of us. Also keep in mind that many programs require at least some nursing experience, although I don't believe it has to be in the speciality you're studying. I felt like the BSN courses I took were nearly useless except to prepare me for the "fluff" classes I have had in my MSN program. Nothing quite compares to nursing fluff-type courses, but they are much more tolerable when you have some experience with what the professors are looking for. I don't have any experience with all of the distance programs so often spoken of on AN, I'm sure they are satisfactory programs. However, don't overlook your local state schools, they might offer options that can be completed just as quickly and for much less money. Just the opinion of someone who's been there and done that
1. Finish your ADN
2. Pass NCLEX
3. If possible, find a psych RN position (highly recommended, it's important to make sure you really enjoy psych nursing before making the commitment to become a PMHNP)
4. Obtain BSN (there are accelerated RN to BSN for nurses that have a bachelors in another field, which might be a quicker option).
5. Apply to a PMHNP program (could be MSN or DNP depending on where you choose to go)
Your BA in psychology will not benefit you as far as credits go towards your PMHNP, it might speed up the BSN process though.
Thank you, that is very encouraging. Like you, psych is the only thing I have ever been interested in. How is your PMHNP program going? That is where I am interested in applying.
I also live in rural Arkansas and am halfway finished with the PMHNP program at UAMS. My advice would be if you want to do psych do it, I can't imagine being stuck working as an FNP just because "that's where the jobs are". Personally I haven't ever had an interest in anything but psych, I know some people have varied interests so a dual degree would be a good fit in that case. As far as the job market goes in Arkansas my instructors have told us that every student in each graduating class has multiple job offers prior to graduation. You have to consider there's only one school in Arkansas and they only admit ten students in each cohort. I have no input regarding other areas of the country, but if you plan to stay in Arkansas you should be fine.
I tried to send you a PM but no luck. Could you try PMing me
U of A only doesn't have a PMHNP program. I'm guessing you are referring to UAMS, which is also part of the University of Arkansas but has a totally separate college of nursing among other health disciplines. I am in the PMHNP program at UAMS now, feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions. I'm halfway finished and have been happy so far.
We had a patient on our geri-psych unit that chewed tobacco. He had pretty severe dementia and got pretty agitated without it so he was allowed to have his dip a couple times a day (this is no longer allowed, but at the time it was). Well, the fella was sitting out in the dayroom enjoying his dip and spitting into a styrofoam cup. The next thing I know I see another patient reaching for his spit cup. Before I could get to him he took a big swig and then set it back on the table totally unfazed. Yep, I about lost it, ick!
1. Northern Arkansas
2. 3 years experience
3. Inpatient Geri-psych
5. No weekend or evening diff. $2.50 for nights and $2 for charge. No increased pay for education i.e. BSN or ANCC
6. No union
I would recommend that if your heart is in psych, do psych. I am halfway through a PMHNP program and have not regretted my specialty choice for a moment. As far as shift patterns go, I have seen some positions offer the option of 4 10s. Also keep in mind that in some areas PMHNPs are used in EDs, so you may have an option to work 12s in that instance. However, I would urge you to really consider all aspects of a specialty (more so than simply the typical shift pattern) before you make a commitment. You didn't mention which area of nursing you currently work in, but if you have not worked in a psych setting I would strongly recommend some hands on experience before taking the plunge into PMHNP. Hope that helps you!
When I was accepted to University of Arkansas MNSc Program, FPMHNP track, when I had a pending BSN. They gave me conditional admission, this was in April and I am now half way through my first semester. I would contact the school you are interested in and see what their policy is. I think it is fairly common to give conditional admission if all other admission criteria is met.
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