Jun 14, 2024  
2022-2023 Academic Bulletin (Jan 2023 Ed) 
2022-2023 Academic Bulletin (Jan 2023 Ed) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Post-Doctoral Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees, Majors, and Concentrations Offered

Program Description

The College of Nursing offers a Post-Doctoral Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner certification concentration for DNP prepared APRNs who are certified in another specialty.  The certificate program prepares graduates to independently diagnose and treat a wide variety of mental health conditions across the life span. In addition, graduates are prepared to provide integrative practice across a spectrum of mental health and physical health conditions. Course work and supervised clinical experiences provide the knowledge, skills and abilities to provide at least two different approaches to psychotherapy, in-depth understanding of psychopharmacology, and expertise in treating patients across the life span who are experiencing both mental health and physical health problems. Graduates are eligible to take the certification examination for Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioners.

Program Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate advanced levels of clinical judgment/scholarship in nursing practice.
  2. Critically analyze complex clinical situations and practice systems.
  3. Evaluate and apply conceptual models, theories, and research in order to improve healthcare of diverse populations.
  4. Systematically investigate a clinically focused area of nursing in order to advance healthcare.
  5. Analyze the social, economic, political, and policy components of healthcare systems which affect care planning and delivery.
  6. Assume leadership roles in the development of clinical practice models, health policy, and standards of care.
  7. Integrate professional values and ethical decision-making in advanced nursing practice.

Admission Requirements

The Post-DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate applicant must:

  1. Submit official copies of transcripts for all college and university work to NursingCAS. Submit of a copy of an unencumbered Tennessee RN license or have unencumbered authority to practice as an RN via the multi-state privilege at the time of application. Accepted students must maintain an unencumbered RN license for the duration of their program.
  2. Have earned a doctor of nursing practice from an institution accredited by one of the following accreditors:
  • Higher Learning Commission
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Commission of Higher Education
  • Northwest Commission on College and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and School, Commission on Colleges
  • WASC Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges
  • WASC Senior Colleges and University Commission

All prerequisite courses, transfer course credits, and degrees (where applicable) from international institutions must be evaluated by an approved equivalency agency.

  1. Have earned a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in the DNP.
  2. Submit a letter of good standing from the Program Director of the nursing program that the student was previously enrolled even though the applicant did not complete the nursing program.
  3. Provide current and relevant documentation of physical, learning, psychological, or other disabilities, if applicable. Documentation guidelines are available in the Student Academic Support Services (SASS) Office, GEB, room BB9. Students should call (901) 448-7746 and schedule an appointment to discuss accommodation needs as soon as possible following entry into the Program.
  4. Submit three recommendation forms from doctorally-prepared nurses who can address the applicant’s potential as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner including clinical skills, critical thinking, independent decision making, collaborative skills with other health professionals, and leadership.
  5. Submit an essay regarding how earning the Post-DNP certification will affect the applicant’s future practice. Also, a brief, written essay will be completed during the interview process to demonstrate written communication skills.
  6. Have ready access to a Web-connected, laptop personal computer. Computer literacy and adequate computer skills are required.
  7. Demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants will be required to present evidence of proficiency in English if a) their native language is not English, or b) at any time during the application process there is reason to believe the applicant is not proficient in the English language. Evidence of proficiency in the English language is established through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Minimum acceptable scores are 550 on TOEFL paper version, 213 on TOEFL computer version, and 80 on TOEFL web-based version. TOEFL scores must have been earned within two years prior to application for the current UTHSC program. Any application for exemption from the TOEFL examination requirement must be submitted before the application deadline to the Director of Student Affairs, (901) 448-6125.
  8. Complete a successful criminal background check and drug screen within 30 days of official acceptance to the program. Background checks may be repeated during the student’s program of study.

Academic Preparation and Achievement Admission Criteria

Applicants must hold a DNP degree from an accredited university with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.  Applicants must hold national certification as an NP or CNS; a current, unencumbered RN License; and the appropriate APRN approval from their state of practice.  Applicants may submit additional documents to demonstrate professional scholarship and leadership abilities that could make them more competitive.

English Language Proficiency

If native tongue is not English, evidence of proficiency in English is documented through the submission of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores. Minimum proficiency scores: 550 on TOEFL paper version, 213 on TOEFL computer version, and 80 on TOEFL Web-based version. TOEFL scores must have been earned within two years prior to application. Applicants may request exemption from the TOEFL examination requirement, for example, an earned high school degree from a U.S. secondary education institution. Requests must be submitted before the application deadline to the Director of Student Affairs, (901) 448-6125.

Technical and Performance Standards

Technical and Performance Standards: All DNP Concentrations

In addition the technical and performance standards expected of all students in educational programs in the College of Nursing, students in the DNP program are also expected to possess the mental, auditory, visual, sensory, strength, manual dexterity, and communication skills to:

  1. Perform a systematic and complete history and physical examination on a client.
  2. Communicate significant examination findings to other professionals and client/family.
  3. Appropriately assess and record subjective and objective findings.
  4. Maintain effective relationships and interact appropriately with other professionals and clients/families, demonstrating skills of leadership collaborations and decisiveness.
  5. Accurately analyze alterations in functional patterns.
  6. Demonstrate advanced use of the nursing process: assess, develop, implement, educate and counsel clients, prescribe appropriate therapy, demonstrate self-care skills and evaluate appropriate plans of action for diagnosed problems.
  7. Maintain flexibility and emotional stability in response to novel, unique situations and stress.

Technical and Performance Standards Specific to Family Nurse Practitioner, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

  1. Anticipate potential common, acute self-limiting, and selected chronic problems.
  2. Develop insight into own emotional functioning to evaluate the ability to provide therapeutic intervention for a client.


The DNP program is currently accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) through 2024. The Nurse Anesthesia concentration is also accredited through the Council on Accreditation (COA) through 2029.

Classroom, Clinical and Lab Hours Ratio per Credit

The clinical and laboratory hour per credit hour ratio in courses taught in the DNP program is 4:1. Thus, 1 credit equates to 60 hours of clinical or laboratory experience over the course of the term, as well as additional student effort of approximately 30 hours related to preparation for the clinical and laboratory experiences. For didactic courses, a traditional 3 credit-hour course using a face-to-face lecture format involves approximately 45 contact hours as well as 90 or more hours of additional student effort over the course of the term. For didactic courses taught online or using a hybrid format, a 3 credit-hour course would involve at least 135 hours of student effort over the term.

Sample Plan of Study: Post-Doctoral Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate Post DNP APRN to PMHNP

OVERALL TOTAL: 23 Credit Hours

Review of transcripts and previously completed clinical hours will determine the necessary number of clinical hours in program.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Degrees, Majors, and Concentrations Offered