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Best route to pmhnp?

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by Jamie Morrison Jamie Morrison (New) New

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Hi. I’m not sure if this is the correct forum for this so please redirect me if it is. I am currently a licensed clinical social worker and I am looking to eventually make the switch to a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I specialize in substance use and currently am a supervisor in a women’s residential treatment center. I’ve worked with a variety of populations in other areas as well and have worked in settings including emergency rooms and as a community Paramedicine social worker so I’m also considered a medical social worker, though addiction services is my passion. My reasons for wanting to make the change is not solely for financial reasons (though obviously that’s appealing) but also because I’ve seen the impact that NPs have on both individual and community levels in my field versus social workers. Additionally, I am able to provide more to patients as an NP (ie: medication assisted treatment). 

Obviously, after already having gained a masters degree, I am aware of the financial burden. So that’s not really a question that I’m asking about right now. I mostly want to know what would be the most recommended/quickest route to becoming a psych NP without a nursing background. Though I’m not opposed to becoming an RN in the interim... especially after working in the emergency room it does have its appeals to me... I think it makes the most sense to try to be sensible and get there as fast as I can. My ultimate goal is probably to kind of due therapy with the ability to prescribe. What would people recommend? I’ve started taking my prerequisites but after that would a direct entry masters program be my best route to become a psych NP? Accelerated BSN and then MSN? Associates to RN then BSN? I’m open to all suggestions!

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verene is a MSN and specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

1,612 Posts; 10,128 Profile Views

Every program is somewhat different.

I think in your case you are probably looking at BSN, ABSN, vs direct-entry programs for speed.

Traditional BSN as post-bach - Pros - this is likely one of the more afforable options to RN liscense, can work part-time in program, spreads cirriculum out over ~2 years if you appreciate slower pace. Cons - lack of financial aid, takes time, end at RN level.

ABSN - Pros - quickest path to RN, some are combined with MSN/DNP and offer dual-admission. Cons - intense, may not be able to continue working during school, expensive.

Direct entry: ABSN +MSN/DNP, direct entry MSN, direct entry DNP. Pros - faster pathway, RN curriculum is integrated into a path leading to PMHNP. Cons - expense, limited schools which offer this path, not always respected by those who believe NPs need to "pay dues as RN" prior to NP study and work.

I'd recommend applying to variety of programs ASN to direct-entry RN/PMHNP programs as all will help you get on the path to PMHNP and then evaluate based on which one(s) you are accepted to and which of those work best for your particular circumstances.

Good luck!


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