st marys hall
Category: Health Magazine, Winter 2024

Title:New psychiatric mental health certificate program for nursing practitioners

Author: Gabrielle Barone
Date Published: January 12, 2024

In Fall 2025, the School of Nursing is planning a four semester post-graduate curriculum that will allow experienced nurse practitioners to pursue an additional certification as psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs).

Comprehensive mental health care services—including community trauma-informed approaches, harm reduction, and recovery support—are in more demand nationwide as people deal with issues ranging from acute crises to chronic illnesses to substance use disorders.

Karan Kverno, director of the PMHNP program, points out that the World Health Organization’s definition of health includes “physical, mental, and social well-being.” “You can’t really pull them apart,” says Kverno. “They’re an overlapping triangle; they all influence each other.”

The vision for the program is to support the development of competent PMHNPs that will provide patient-focused and equitable mental health care. The vision also includes preparing graduates to support patients, families, and communities in addressing social and structural perpetuating risk factors, and connecting them with community resources that help sustain recovery and support resilience.

To achieve the program vision, the School of Nursing faculty have partnered with their interprofessional MedStar Health clinical and academic colleagues in Washington, DC and Maryland to develop an effective and sustainable model of clinical PMHNP education.

Kverno notes that two exceptional advanced practice psychiatric nursing leaders are instrumental to realizing this vision: Dean Roberta Waite and Edilma Yearwood, senior advisor for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Antiracism.

“I am grateful to all of the School of Nursing faculty and mental health care colleagues who are collaborating to build this exciting new program,” Kverno says.

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