Any Psych Nurse Practitioner's out there?

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1,635 Posts

Specializes in Correctional Nursing; MSN student.

Interesting thread. I haven't started school yet and have been recruited by three different practices who are familiar with me. With our nation's new focus on mental health I think one can find a position, though it may require relocation for some. The ideal situation sounds like PMHNP-FNP to open all doors. I'm going to trust that mental health is where I need to be at this stage. Good luck to all of us moving forward to expand our education and make a contribution to society.


116 Posts

look at USAJOBS.GOV, the VA has tons of psych NP jobs


23 Posts

Specializes in Psych/med-surge.

I work outpatient full time. I think the worst part for the majority of NPs is that we are not paid hourly or per patient. If you can get hourly or a per patient rate, this controls more of what you earn. Most doctors work this way, and it is a shame that NPs do not. Unlike staff RNs, we get no overtime because we are salary. I had to sign a no compete contract which limits any work I might want to do on the side. I think many NPs have to sign some sort of no compete contract. As a staff RN PRN I could have stayed and worked all the hours I wanted, including overtime.

When I was an RN in the hospital, the psychiatrists would come in, round, and then go to their private practice. I do not know any NPs that do this, the hospital either employs them fulltime (on salary) or they work outpatient (again, salary). Working either of these options entails 8-5 and some days 7-6 because you will see a great deal of time seeing patients and an outrageous amount of time dealing with insurance/Medicaid for medication authorizations, additional days for hospital stays, and paperwork. Again, I am not trying to discourage, because anybody that has a heart for psych will be an asset. Maybe your employer will be willing to pay a per patient rate/percentage and if they do I would say grab that chance. You will also be able to be a DON, which can in some places pay more than psych NP. If you live close to the VA. The VA has jobs and probably always will, although the compensation begins in the $70,000-$80,000 range, at least in my area. The VA has very good benefits.


168 Posts

See, it's the opposite here in Louisville. Hospitals are just now starting to hire PMHNPs as salary. Most PMHNPs here round like doctors do and then go to their outpatient appointment.

I wouldn't mind being paid salary and working 9-5. You might get paid less but someone else is paying your benefits! I guess it depends on how much less.

Lots of great information here. My end goal was to do a hybrid of a salaried position and workshops/private practice. While studying psych I've received training in art therapy and group therapy. So I really wanted the option to run groups and workshops as a side career (I love that stuff). * I know as a PMHNP you are mostly doing med management, treatment plans, and writing 'scrips.

However, hearing about the non-compete clause has me nervous that won't be a possibility.

zmansc, ASN, RN

867 Posts

Specializes in Emergency.

$80k at a VA with a pension is what, around $100k at a private practice, probably way more if you already have a few years of government service to add to!


81 Posts

Specializes in Mental Health.

Ugh why would anyone want to live in the South? : P


70 Posts

This is an OLD thread, however, after Miss South Carolina has responded with nothing positive or uplifting, I wish to respond. Do not forget Miss South Carolina, your negative experiences are just that...........YOURS. You cannot speak for a country as a whole. Maybe your employer is paying YOU $80,000, but just hired a new DNP graduate at $90,000 per year. Your opinion is subjective based on your intimate experience.

That being said, I am 36, almost 37. I began pre-nursing in 1996, but then change to business school for reasons beyond my control. I ended up working in IT making well around $150,000 per year, as I did graduate with 2 BS degrees in fields that were #1 and #3 in the nation at that time. Money IS NOT everything. I was in a coma 6.5 years ago for a few weeks. Coming out of that unscathed was a blessing, and over the course of a year I evaluated my life. I realized money wasn't everything; I loved IT as a hobby, but hated working it. I needed "something" that had value to me when I would walk into work. And here I am, about to enter my 2nd semester of a BSN nursing program, with the goal of earning my doctorate in PMHNP. This is a VERY personal decision to go into Psych. I have so many reasons that I cannot even share.

But all I hear from you Miss South Carolina, is about the crappy pay you're making. Do you even give a crap about making a difference to a mentally fragile individuals? If the pay is so disappointing, then why didn't you do your homework beforehand? Because your are rubbing it off on people who are hopeful about a career path they want to take. I gather you have your MSN? Maybe that is part of the disparity in pay you see. Get your doctorate; your pay will increase.

I will leave it with this; I do not understand how people CHOOSE the nursing field, a field where there needs to be compassion, caring, and kindness, in addition to the critical thinking and analytical skills, etc. And they come into it for the money, or in Miss South Carolina's case, the apparent lack of.

Do you homework people. It is called DUE DILIGENCE.

I appreciate reading information from both sides of the coin. I don't think Carlyjo wrote her post with the intention of pissing in everyone's cheerios. She sounds disillusioned with her current position and wanted to warn those looking into this field it's not all sunshine and roses. If anything, it started a conversation clarifying what options are out there and the difference in pay r/t what region of the nation you are in. I work closely with a FNP and a PMHNP and from what I understand, they make a good wage. Getting stuck on a specific number doesn't include the entire picture of compensation. Making a little less on paper in return for more autonomy, benefits or smaller case-loads isn't always a bad thing.

Becoming a PMHNP for the money isn't a good idea, but to go into it "to save the world" is naive. Maybe joining the Peace Corp would be better if money doesn't matter to you and you are just looking for a way to help others. I've worked in the behavioral health field for 15+ years and I understand my limitations; like you can't save someone from themselves. It's important to judge your performance as a clinician by providing the best care you can and not the outcome of that care. All you can do is offer the client the best care you know how and be there when they're ready to make a change or become floridly psychotic...

Specializes in medical surgical.

Please remember you are in the south (as am I). We are the worst of the worst in pay. In fact, many graduate NP's are leaving my state due to all the regulations. I made 68k last year as a regular NP. I am quite sure my PMHNP MIGHT get me 80k in this part of the country.


8 Posts

I personally appreciate her honesty and didn't feel it was unnecessarily negative. Many posts in these types of conversations are antidotal, so it is difficult to get a realistic picture of what to expect after graduation. I really hope you are right about being paid more with the DNP, but this is not what I am seeing in my area (also the south). In fact, I have heard some potential employers are hesitant due to the controversy and turf war surrounding "Dr." Nurses. In the academic setting, you will be told all day long how much the DNP will benefit you, but in clinical settings the DNP doesn't seem to be a deciding factor, increase salary, or even give you "an edge". Again, just my experiences thus far, but I really do not like the falsely optimistic image of the NP profession that MSN/DNP programs project. I work in a hospital where DNP-FNPs are still working as floor RNs due to over-saturation. PMHNP is not far behind this trend.


74 Posts

CarlyJo - Has your outlook on doing the PMHNP changed at all? Are you pursuing the DNP-FNP?

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