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Which is better, a BA in Psychology or a BSN for the PMHNP?

Psychiatric   (895 Views | 9 Replies)
by HansenRN HansenRN (New) New

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I currently have my ADN and am working as a psych nurse. I’m looking into getting my PNHNP within the next 4 years. I’m trying to decide if I should do a bachelors and masters in psychology or a BSN and a masters in psychology. Which would be the best option as far as career growth?

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

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I do think doing a LOT of research about what the role of psychologist, therapist, and PMHNP is likely to look like in practice will help you figure out which direction will make more sense for you.  I'm a little unclear if you are looking at bachelors +masters in psychology and then PMHNP or BSN + masters in psychology then PMHNP or are thinking the masters in psychology is the same as a masters in advanced nursing with psychiatric specialization -- because they are NOT the same thing.

When you think on "career growth" what specifically are you hooping to get our of your career? Pay? Opportunities for management? Patient population? Practice setting? Providing some of these thoughts can also help to clarify the direction to pursue.

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13 Posts; 1,008 Profile Views

Thanks for responding.

”...or are thinking the masters in psychology is the same as a masters in advanced nursing with psychiatric specialization -- because they are NOT the same thing.”

Whats the difference between these two? My ultimate goal is to have my own practice?

Edited by HansenRN

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

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3 hours ago, HansenRN said:

Thanks for responding.

”...or are thinking the masters in psychology is the same as a masters in advanced nursing with psychiatric specialization -- because they are NOT the same thing.”

Whats the difference between these two? My ultimate goal is to have my own practice?

In brief a PMHNP is an RN who has gone on to obtain a masters or doctorate degree in nursing with a specialty in psychiatric & mental health nursing. This education builds on nursing education and practice and is focused on providing advanced nursing care - PMHNPs may assesses patients for mental health disorders and provide treatment - both therapy and prescribe medications. Most programs and employers will focus more heavily on the medication side as reimbursement rates are higher for this and it is a skill set which is more marketable - as therapists from a variety of background can provide therapy services.

Psychologists have a degree in psychology (usually doctorate but I think master's level can still practice in some places?) and are trained in human behavior emotional, cognitive, and social processes and in normal and abnormal mental health. They may be employed in clinical practice providing therapy and/or diagnostic assessments OR may be employed in research or other fields which are may not be patient facing.

Depending on the psychology master's program - this may prepare someone to be a counselor or therapist or mental health provider (title depends on state) who is qualified to assess and diagnosis patients and to provide therapy.  Though a therapist may also come from an education background in counseling or social work.

Again - depending on state regulations - it may be possible for any of the roles to practice independently and to own their own practice. (Not all states allow this though for all roles, or may have stipulations that need to be met first).

I strongly urge you to complete some internet searches and to look at different college/university descriptions of their programs to get a better idea of the different pathways and the different careers out there.

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13 Posts; 1,008 Profile Views

So I already have my ADN, are you saying if I were to get a BA and masters in psychology then I couldn’t sit for the PMHNP even though I’m still a nurse? So if I want to get my PMHNP I would have to go for the BSN then, is that right?

Edited by HansenRN

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Rose_Queen has 15 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

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1 hour ago, HansenRN said:

So I already have my ADN, are you saying if I were to get a BA and masters in psychology then I couldn’t sit for the PMHNP even though I’m still a nurse? So if I want to get my PMHNP I would have to go for the BSN then, is that right?

You need to complete a masters or doctorate in nursing with a focus in PMHNP to become a psych NP. A masters in psychology does not meet the criteria for an advanced practice nursing role. Some programs do not require a BSN for entry, only a nursing license. Others require a BSN for entry. Those that don't require it will have you take the same courses you need to complete the BSN but don't necessarily confer a BSN in the process.

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Rose_Queen has 15 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

9 Followers; 4 Articles; 9,265 Posts; 107,692 Profile Views

From the eligibility criteria for the PMHNP-BC exam:

Eligibility

RN License

Hold a current, active RN license in a state or territory of the United States or hold the professional, legally recognized equivalent in another country.

Apply from Outside the U.S.

Learn about additional requirements for candidates outside the U.S.

Master’s, Postgraduate, or Doctoral Degree

Hold a master's, postgraduate, or doctoral degree* from a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) (formerly NLNAC | National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission). A minimum of 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours must be included in your psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner program.

Three separate, comprehensive graduate-level courses in:

Advanced physiology/pathophysiology, including general principles that apply across the life span

Advanced health assessment, which includes assessment of all human systems, advanced assessment techniques, concepts, and approaches

Advanced pharmacology, which includes pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacotherapeutics of all broad categories of agents

Content in:

Health promotion and/or maintenance

Differential diagnosis and disease management, including the use and prescription of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions

AND clinical training in at least two psychotherapeutic treatment modalities.

*Candidates may be authorized to sit for the examination after all coursework and faculty-supervised clinical practice hours for the degree are complete, prior to degree conferral and graduation, provided that all other eligibility requirements are met. Please note, the Validation of Education form and official/unofficial transcripts showing that coursework (and faculty-supervised clinical practice hours) is completed are required before authorization to test will be issued. ANCC will retain the candidate’s exam result and will issue certification on the date the final, degree-conferred and official transcript are received, all other eligibility requirements are met, and a passing result is on file.

(ANCC will accept unofficial transcripts, which ANCC defines as either a photocopy of a transcript, a comprehensive record of your academic progress or a print out of all work completed, to date, including coursework, grades and degree(s) earned or in progress – which will allow ANCC to process and review your application. ANCC reserves the right to reject any unofficial transcript that appears to be altered.)

 

https://www.nursingworld.org/our-certifications/psychiatric-mental-health-nurse-practitioner/

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

1,612 Posts; 10,120 Profile Views

On 2/15/2020 at 2:31 PM, HansenRN said:

So I already have my ADN, are you saying if I were to get a BA and masters in psychology then I couldn’t sit for the PMHNP even though I’m still a nurse? So if I want to get my PMHNP I would have to go for the BSN then, is that right?

That is correct. You will need a degree in nursing - specifically advanced practiced nursing with a focus in psychiatric mental health nursing to become a  PMHNP.  Most MSN/PMHNP programs will require either a BSN or ADN+bachelors in another field for admission.

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Catedi has 9 years experience and specializes in Psychiatric.

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Your role as a PMHNP will be much different than the role of a psychologist. I'd stick with the nursing track. You will need advanced medical education more than psychology. Generally, you will be Rx'ing meds more than counseling patients. 

 

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Nurse Magnolia is a BSN, RN and specializes in Psychiatric RN.

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PMHNP can prescribe medications and do some therapy.  A master's in psychology can do counseling, but cannot prescribe medications.  

As a PMHNP, to have your own practice, you need to live in a state that has full practice authority for NP's, or you need to work with the cooperation of a psychiatrist.  

As a clinical mental health counselor (master's level) or clinical psychologist (Ph.D. or PsyD level), you can have your own practice - you just cannot prescribe medications.  

Psychologist and PMHNP are different roles.  You should do more research on the difference.  As a psychologist, however, your nursing designation means nothing.  

 

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