Psychiatric-Mental Health NP - The right choice?

  1. Hi! Long time reader, first time poster here. I'm currently working to obtain my BSN and I'm looking at NP grad schools to attend after I obtain my BSN. I'm really interested in the Psych-Mental Health NP profession, but I haven't been able to find too much information about it here in the site. If anyone could answer any of the following questions, I'd greatly appreciate it!:

    1) Am I severely limiting myself opportunity-wise by planning to go directly into PMHNP? Or would I be better off by going the FNP route and then try to obtain a certification in PMHNP? I've already decided to go the NP route rather than the PA route, however I don't know if I might be inadvertently be locking myself into something.

    2) The plan is to go directly into grad school after obtaining my BSN, however I've read that some new grad NP's are having trouble finding jobs since they have no prior nursing experience. Does anyone know if this applies to psychiatric-mental health new grads with no experience?

    3) Would anyone happen to know what the job market for PMHNP's is like right about now? I would ideally like to work for the government (the VA, for example), but am still curious about the job market as a whole.

    4) And finally, which might be a ridiculous question but I have to ask, but is the PMHNP profession dangerous? It may be foolish to listen to a "friend of a friend's friend" when I was told this, but he said that you would have to worry about stalkers or mentally instable people that might target you after treating them in the office. Ridiculous most likely, I know, but I just thought I'd ask regardless.

    If anyone can answer any of these, it would greatly be appreciated, as these are really the burning questions in my mind that I haven't been able to find any info on anywhere. Thanks in advance! :spin:
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    About FortunateFool

    Joined: May '09; Posts: 4

    4 Comments

  3. by   zenman
    Quote from FortunateFool

    1) Am I severely limiting myself opportunity-wise by planning to go directly into PMHNP? Or would I be better off by going the FNP route and then try to obtain a certification in PMHNP? I've already decided to go the NP route rather than the PA route, however I don't know if I might be inadvertently be locking myself into something.
    If you have the time and money FNP and psych would be a good combo. However, it's not necessary.


    2) The plan is to go directly into grad school after obtaining my BSN, however I've read that some new grad NP's are having trouble finding jobs since they have no prior nursing experience. Does anyone know if this applies to psychiatric-mental health new grads with no experience?
    Sometimes. Most programs expect a little experience.

    3) Would anyone happen to know what the job market for PMHNP's is like right about now? I would ideally like to work for the government (the VA, for example), but am still curious about the job market as a whole.
    The world is falling apart, wars, etc., etc., so I don't think you have to worry much about a job.


    4) And finally, which might be a ridiculous question but I have to ask, but is the PMHNP profession dangerous? It may be foolish to listen to a "friend of a friend's friend" when I was told this, but he said that you would have to worry about stalkers or mentally instable people that might target you after treating them in the office. Ridiculous most likely, I know, but I just thought I'd ask regardless.
    You just have to be careful period. Stalkers and mentally unstable people will get you as a FNP also.
  4. by   sandnnw
    The VA is a wonderful place to work. My experience is the VA is hiring more Psych folks presently than any other APN. I work in a VA ER, the APNs perform the same intake assessment and admit (or discharge!) our Psych patients as the MD/Psychiatrist.

    I think you are smart with your choice (over PA). I've never heard of a Psych PA? Guess they're out there. Hmmm...interesting.

    VA, might have to worm your way into a job, esp with little experience. For example, just getting your foot into the door at the VA can be a challenge. Once your in, your in and can move around the country. Best of luck!
  5. by   core0
    Quote from sandnnw
    The VA is a wonderful place to work. My experience is the VA is hiring more Psych folks presently than any other APN. I work in a VA ER, the APNs perform the same intake assessment and admit (or discharge!) our Psych patients as the MD/Psychiatrist.

    I think you are smart with your choice (over PA). I've never heard of a Psych PA? Guess they're out there. Hmmm...interesting.

    VA, might have to worm your way into a job, esp with little experience. For example, just getting your foot into the door at the VA can be a challenge. Once your in, your in and can move around the country. Best of luck!
    Psych PAs are very regionally concentrated. Mostly in the NE and southwest. There are about 500 PAs doing psych plus another 2-400 doing medical management for inpatient psych units (under hospitalist services). There are two PA post graduate programs as well as one for NPs and PAs.

    David Carpenter, PA-C
  6. by   westcoastgirl
    A friend of mine works as a psych PA, they certainly do exist and I am on the west coast. In order for a NP to get into his group they have to be a psychiatric NP.

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