FNP then Post-Masters in Psych, or straight for PMHNP?

  1. First off, a little background. My ultimate goal is to be a PMHNP. I'm currently an RN working on an inpatient psych unit. I love psychopharmacology, analyzing why my patients are prescribed certain meds, evaluating the effectiveness, chatting with my patients and educating them on their medications.

    My question is, would it be more beneficial to do a FNP program and then a PMHNP post-masters certificate? I've found a FNP program (MSN) at Delta State University that can be completed in two years, 1020 clinical hours, and costs about $17K total. From the reviews I've read and from looking over the curriculum, it seems like a quality program. I could work as a NP for about a year, and then do the PMHNP post-masters program. Frontier University offers a PMHNP certificate that includes 540 clinical hours, 30 credits, and costs $17,600. There is also the option at Frontier to continue after graduating into a three semester DNP that costs $10K total, with an additional 360 clinical hours (which can be completed in psych).

    This whole process would take about 4 years, and would possibly cost $35K (MSN) to $45K (DNP), I'd be certified as both a FNP and PMHNP.

    Or would it be better to just go straight for PMHNP? While I can see the benefit of being certified in both, I assume that I would need to have a certain amount of practice hours as FNP to maintain certification. Also, that route might be unnecessarily complicated. My problem is that all of the PMHNP programs that I've found cost between $65K to 100K for a DNP. The few I found that were MSN and cheaper were not offered and/or accepted in my state

    Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!

    TL;DR: FNP then Post-Masters in Psych, or straight for PMHNP? Pros, Cons?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   SopranoKris
    University of South Alabama has a Family Psych NP for both the MSN & DNP level. If you opt to do DNP, you still earn your masters and can work as a Psych NP while working on your DNP. The DNP is 69 credits. You only have to go to campus once, before you start your first clinical course. They are $549/credit hour, which would be $37K+ for tuition. Fees are relatively low. The MSN is 45 credits, which would be $24K+ for tuition. Pretty affordable.

    Here's the link for the DNP in Family Psych NP: Psychiatric (Family) Nurse Practitioner
  4. by   Zyprexa
    Thank you! I'll check it out!
  5. by   Zyprexa
    SopranoKris, it looks like a really good program. I like that they require 2 years of psych nursing experience prior to starting clinical. Also the cost is really nice

    I will definitely put University of South Alabama on my list. Thanks again!
  6. by   umbdude
    PMHNP hopeful here as well and I also work in inpatient psych. Unless you have a really good reason to do FNP, I honestly wouldn't bother or get the FNP after PMHNP. FNP is very saturated these days (perhaps not in your area though), and you might have a hard time finding a job and pay is less. That is not the case with PMHNP.

    I do hear you that there aren't many PMHNP programs out there. Personally I would avoid DNP programs. At the end of the day, if you love psych I think you should go straight to a PMHNP program and practice as a psych NP. You'll enjoy it more.
  7. by   Zyprexa
    Thank you! Are there any PMHNP programs that you would recommend?
  8. by   wayemika
    I'm starting at Drexel in the fall. We still have openings if you want to apply.
  9. by   Zyprexa
    Quote from wayemika
    I'm starting at Drexel in the fall. We still have openings if you want to apply.
    Cost would be my main issue with Drexel, $935/credit hour is a lot. Do they arrange clinical, or do students have to find preceptors? Are clinicals completed in Philadelphia?
  10. by   wayemika
    We find our own clinical sites but if you do like the ANA membership it can take 25% off your tuition. I made sure to utilized that with the black nurses rock membership. You come to Philadelphia four times for c skills. I'm looking to don't clinicals locally. I'm nervous about starting at the end of September as it's 10 weeks on 3 weeks off each time but ready to do it and have it over with. . I know 5 other people who did the program and one in it now and they all like it. You have weekly log in on some classes at certain times but they give us two options normally to log in like 5:30 and 8:30
  11. by   Zyprexa
    Thank you for the information!
  12. by   AS8812
    I just recently got accepted to UofA DNP, PMHNP. I also applied to university of Alabama at Birmingham, which offers an MSN with PMHNP clinical speciality. My good friend is a PMHNP with her DNP. I had asked her about the dual speciality-wanting to do family or acute care. She made a good point (to me anyway) to say that companies will hire you with the dual certification-then you do the job of two different roles/positions with not much more pay. And also, if you take a role specifically as a psych Np, but something medical is going on that the medical team doesn't address (in the hospital setting) you are the one responsible because you are held to your highest licensure.
    I personally wanted my DNP because it's a terminal degree and I feel that it will get me further in my future career. Also, in Arizona I have seen a few job listings that specifically state a higher salary for DNP PMHNPs.

    Good luck with school! It's so exciting!
  13. by   wayemika
    Quote from AS8812
    I just recently got accepted to UofA DNP, PMHNP. I also applied to university of Alabama at Birmingham, which offers an MSN with PMHNP clinical speciality. My good friend is a PMHNP with her DNP. I had asked her about the dual speciality-wanting to do family or acute care. She made a good point (to me anyway) to say that companies will hire you with the dual certification-then you do the job of two different roles/positions with not much more pay. And also, if you take a role specifically as a psych Np, but something medical is going on that the medical team doesn't address (in the hospital setting) you are the one responsible because you are held to your highest licensure.
    I personally wanted my DNP because it's a terminal degree and I feel that it will get me further in my future career. Also, in Arizona I have seen a few job listings that specifically state a higher salary for DNP PMHNPs.

    Good luck with school! It's so exciting!
    congrads on being accepted to your program

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