My prior work history includes running a DV shelter, working in boys' residential treatment and therapeutic foster care, ER social work (which I loved, loved, loved! 1- direct entry master's program with specialty in psych nursing 2- take a second refresher course in med surg (as the last one I took was two years ago) and then take a regular psychiatric nurse practitioner's program 3-just go directly to a psychiatric nurse practitioner's program. Many states will allow you to do the CNS program and then take an additional three classes to sit for the NP exam also. For those seeking to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, the next step is to acquire a master’s degree. I would not go for option #1. Here is where I am stuck - what exactly IS the difference between a psych CNS and an NP? My three choices are, 1- direct entry master's program with specialty in psych nursing, 2- take a second refresher course in med surg (as the last one I took was two years ago) and then take a regular psychiatric nurse practitioner's program. You and I actually have pretty similar backgrounds. How many years did you practice in the role of a nurse and how long has it been since being involved in nursing? I feel as though getting nursing training would be an excellent compliment to my social work skills, and allow me to take a more comprehensive approach to patient care. If I can't get into a psychiatric nurse practitioner online program, I would consider … Many professionals believe that the CNS role is being phased out or will be obsolete, but their role is as valuable as any and definitely contributes to the value of nursing and in the private sector. I personally worked full-time in a very unique role that utilized both my RN and MSW providing psych consults in a large hospital system and worked nearly full-time during my PMHNP program. Immediately after finishing my accelerated BSN, I started a family PMHNP program and worked in the emergency department and on an acute gero-psych floor. Hbbenton. Few are interested in diet changes, sleep hygiene, exercise, meditation and instead want to know if I can give them more/another/a different/extra/stronger medicationâ€¦it has become exhausting and disappointingâ€¦at least as an MSW I could engage the patient in therapy, encourage change, provide tools and then refer to psychiatry when the patient wasn't interested in doing the work anymore. I took a refresher course and did very well. Am certainly open to more. Whatever you decide, best of luck! This means (for me), my organization works with homeless, unstable housed, chronic mentally ill patients who typically do not have access to care. Granted, these are very difficult patients and sometimes it just seems easier to throw a med at them and quiet them, but it just seems wrong and actually contraindicated. You will have to find a way to balance class time, clinicals, homework and working, but I am proof that it can be done. :uhoh21: ) When I questioned this and explained that my real interest and training were in psychotherapy, the psych nursing department head who was showing me around for the day told me flat out that no one in that state would hire me to be a therapist, because I was much more "valuable" as someone who could write Rxs, and the only jobs I would get offered would be doing med management. A nurse practitioner is a clinical degree. So I'm looking at at least 6 prerequisite courses-- 2 Chemistry, Microbiology, 2 anatomy and physiology, plus the nutrition. Best of luck to you! In addition to what I've read on this thread and some other research I have done, I think I may be best suited for the CNS role. We have a number of borderline patients who are on the most amazing cocktail of meds - I think it is almost criminal. Also, this is what I was looking at specifically: pathophysiology; 3) advanced health assessment; 4) advanced pharmacology; and 5) both clinical and didactic course work in psychiatric mental health scope of practice. I am writing to ask you for career advice. Inpatient work and medication management does interest me. So I will obviously have my hands full with prerequisites for a while. Any other thoughts on good programs in the "West"? i think this would round out your career nicely. I am now practicing as a PMHNP and haven't regretted the decision to pursue this educational pathway for one moment (other than perhaps because of the cost associated with completing two bachelor's degrees and two master's degrees). Becoming a psych NP through a 3-year, direct-entry program like you mention would mean going through at least a year of general, basic nursing education ("regular" nursing, not psych nursing) -- getting very intimate with people's physical problems and providing for all their physical needs. So I am trying to decide if I should redo my nursing skills education by taking a direct entry master's program where nobody has nursing skills. During this time period, I have come to appreciate social work skills and values tremendously, and I do believe they would be of value regardless of setting. I had emailed a few direct entry master's programs, and the deans agreed with what you are saying. i find psychiatry intellectually stimulating and clinical work challenging (in a good way!) I feel your confusion about the issue and here is what I know. The position would have been a joint appointment, teaching part-time and practicing part-time in a local outpatient MHC. This kid who was seemingly fine 3 mos ago is now gone and the meds have had absolutely no effect and so now it is looking like a Clozaril trial. Again, I really suggest spending some time in mental health first before committing to the PMHNP route. She also had years of experience as a regular RN on psych floors. I've been a psych CS (Master's prepared, but different from a psych NP; I'm not sure how familiar you are with the different roles) for ~10 years (and a psych staff nurse for ~10 years before that). Are you going to go directly to a psychiatric nurse practitioner program when you graduate from nursing school? I worked in a number of different settings as a clinical social worker (outpatient, treatment foster care, community mental health, inpatient, emergency department) while working toward my BSN. I guess no real "point" to all this rambling and ranting just wanted to get some other viewpoints on this issue. I've been a psych CS (Master's prepared, but different from a psych NP; I'm not sure how familiar you are with the different roles) for ~10 years (and a psych staff nurse for ~10 years before that). 3-just go directly to a psychiatric nurse practitioner's program. (Genuinely curious, not being sassy!) as well as mental wellness/illness. The market is really good for LCSWs right now and wages are quite high (at least in my area). I am currently pursuing a Master of Social Work, concentrating in clinical practice in mental health. You could likely continue to work part-time or full-time as an MSW or RN while you complete a PMHNP program full-time (or potentially part-time). But at this point, I figure I'll be in student loan debt until I die regardless of whether or not I pursue more education. Then *hopefully* an accelerated BSN program, and then into a DNP program for three years. Please! Psych NP is the only advanced practice psych option. Krissy, honestly I do not know enough about the ins and outs of this whole process do be able to give you any sound advice. I'm an autodidact. Then I was a classroom elementary school teacher for 25 years. Some of the course differences are that a NP will have to take advanced pharmacology and Physical assessment. Traditional (non-psych) NP programs are two year programs (in most schools). I've talked to quite a number of MSWs (and psychologists) over the years who have been interested in becoming a psych NP or CS because they have the idea that it would mean doing the same thing they've been doing, but getting paid more money for doing it (I don't meant to sound offensive, and I'm not drawing any conclusions about you or your motivations -- I'm just describing honestly my own personal experience.) There. Seriously, you will be completing at least 16 hours per week of practicum placement hours every week for at least 4 semesters in your MSW programâ€¦attending nursing school is just not possible. Lastly, does anyone have any inside knowledge on UCHSC's program? It is my hope that the combination of the clinical skills of the MSW degree, partnered with the medication management skills of the PMHNP position will allow me to be a more effective clinician in the field of mental health. However, because my organization is urban and located between 3 major health networks/hospitals, their HPSA score is 0, leaving me with little chance of being awarded loan repayment. Regarding this? `` practitioners who feel the sense of purpose and passion your clearly. Be more willing to give you my two cents same time period you could a! - almost impossible for when you graduate and are looking for when write! The market is really good for LCSWs right now and wages are quite high ( at Simmons this! 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