School of Nursing

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Lifespan)

 NURS - Image - 450x150 - Psych/Mental Health

The Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty of the DNP prepares students for independent clinical practice to treat psychiatric disorders and mental health problems of people across the lifespan. Students learn to diagnose disorders and provide holistic treatment and lifestyle management including pharmacological interventions, complementary and alternative therapies, and individual, group and family psychotherapies that promote mental health and reduce disability. 

Because of the significant national shortage of psychiatric professional providers, our program prepares students for a wide variety of employment opportunities across the mental health care service spectrum including community-based psychiatric case managers, private practice clinicians, and hospitalists for inpatient psychiatric units.

What makes our program distinct?
The Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty utilizes an integrative mental health framework for teaching patient care and provider self-care. Faculty in the program are nationally acclaimed, doctorally-prepared teaching, clinical and research nursing faculty. In recent years, 100 percent of students pass the certification exam for licensure on the first try. Starting annual salaries for new graduates in the Minnesota/St. Paul metropolitan area average about $95,000 and graduates often have multiple employment opportunities from which to choose.

Our graduates are prepared to:

  • Practice independently and in interprofessional teams in many different clinical settings to address the multi-system health and mental health care needs of persons who experience acute and chronic psychiatric illnesses
  • Graduates are prepared to work with effectively with people across the lifespan and their families
  • Examine mental health organizational systems to identify leadership opportunities for improving clinical practices and outcomes
  • Maintain personal balance in their own lives to be accountable for their own health and mental health and be present for their patients

Upon graduation, students are eligible to take the certifying exam through the American Nurses Credentialing Center to become certified as a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

For questions about the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty, contact:

Merrie Kaas
Psychiatric/Mental Health NP specialty coordinator

For questions about the application process, contact:
Office of Student and Career Advancement Services

Our Faculty

Merrie Kaas
Associate Professor

Karl Olson
Clinical Assistant Professor

Barbara Peterson
Clinical Assistant Professor

Additional Resources

  • ©2014 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer
  • Last modified on November 18, 2015