Online Psychiatric Mental Health Program Information

Dec 03, 2019

Essential Information

Online master's degree programs in psychiatric nursing are available and are typically designed for registered nurses. Both registered nurses and advance practice nurses can find online doctoral programs in psychiatric nursing. Master's degree programs are generally offered in a hybrid format and combine online coursework and clinical instruction in hospitals and clinics. Doctor of Nursing programs combine online research and lectures with on-site clinical experiences. Entrance into these programs requires a bachelor's (or master's for doctoral programs) with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Master's Degree in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

Online master's degree programs in psychiatric mental health nursing are best suited for registered nurses. These programs review the present state of medical research into mental illness and provide training in the treatment of patients with mood and personality disorders.

Students enhance their existing communication skills and knowledge of diagnosis and treatment protocols. Practicum courses prepare students to work in a variety of medical settings. A bachelor's degree, preferably in nursing, and a 3.0 or better grade point average are the minimum academic requirements to enroll in a master's degree program.

Information and Requirements

Psychiatric mental health nursing online programs are generally hybrids of online and traditional instruction. Clinical practicum credits must be completed on-site. Many schools will either have an affiliated hospital or partnerships with independent clinics. A master's degree is typically earned in 2-3 years. For online classes, students may access readings, lectures and other materials 24 hours a day through a school's website.

Participation in an online program requires a relatively new personal computer, Internet access, word processing and presentation software. Schools may use a proprietary content management system or a commercial system such as Blackboard.

List of Common Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Master's Degree Courses

Master's degree programs in psychiatric mental health nursing are organized into core course, advanced practice courses, seminars and clinical rotations. Students begin clinical rotations after declaring their concentration or specialization.


This course focuses on applications of biostatistics to advanced practice and mental health nursing. Selection, analysis and interpretation of data and its contribution to decision-making are a primary emphasis.

Research Methods

Students in this course develop their skills at uncovering medical information and applying it to nursing practice. Course work emphasizes qualitative and quantitative methods.

Psychiatric Assessment

This course focuses on the process of evaluating patients, identifying patterns of behavior that indicate the presence of a mental disorder and applying treatment. Topics covered include standards of medical practice, medical ethics and treatment modalities used in different psychiatric settings.

Doctor of Nursing Program in Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing

Online Doctor of Nursing degree programs in psychiatric mental health nursing are designed for registered nurses and advanced practice nurses. Program content addresses the evolving roles of nurses in a multifaceted health care system, engages with the findings of new and ongoing mental health research and attempts to translate research into practice.

Students gain experience and insight into the duties associated with leading a nursing staff in caregiving and clinical research settings. Admission to a doctoral degree program requires a bachelor's degree or master's degree in nursing. Applicants with a bachelor's degree who are accepted into a program may have to complete supplementary graduate-level courses.

Program Information and Requirements

Because clinical practice requirements, online Doctor of Nursing programs offer a combination of traditional and online instruction. Students have 24 hour access to medical research and lectures for their online courses through the school's website, and opportunities to interact with instructors and other students in online forums.

A personal computer and Internet access are required to participate in an online program. Depending on prior education and time availability, a Doctor of Nursing program can be completed in 2-3 years.

List of Common Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Doctoral Degree Courses

The initial year of a Doctor of Nursing program is likely to emphasize classroom study. Later years are devoted to research, a clinical residency and completion of a culminating project.

Health Assessment

This course combines classroom, laboratory and evidence-based approaches to assessing and diagnosing physical and mental health conditions. Course work surveys common health problems in various groups.

Individual Psychiatric Care

The extant theory and research into mental illness treatment as practiced with individual patients is the focus of this course. Diagnostic assessment, the mental illness pharmacopoeia, and mental illness prevention are among the topics covered.

Family Psychiatric Care

Students in this course survey current theoretical concepts and research into aberrant family behavior and coping mechanisms. Course work examines strategies for guiding families to healthier relationships.

Career Information for Graduates

Graduates of an online master's degree program in psychiatric mental health nursing are qualified for positions as psychiatric nurse practitioners. Further specialization into gerontologic-psychiatric nursing, child and adolescent mental health nursing or substance abuse nursing are possible depending on education and training. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment of registered nurses in general, including psychiatric nurse practitioners, over the years 2018-2028 will grow 12%, faster than the average for all occupations ( As of May 2018, registered nurses earned a median salary of $71,730, and nurse practitioners earned a median of $107,030.

Nurses who graduate from an online Doctor of Nursing program in psychiatric mental health nursing are qualified for leadership positions. They may become senior medical researchers, professors or administrators at hospitals, agencies or graduate programs. They may also continue caring for patients as the head of a staff of mental health nurse practitioners. According to the BLS, employment of medical and health service managers will grow 18% over the years 2018-2028, faster than the average for all occupations. The median salary of medical and health service managers as of May 2018 was $99,730.

Continuing Education Information

Doctoral programs in psychiatric mental health nursing are available for advanced practice mental nurses who want to assume leadership positions in the field. A handful of schools offer Doctor of Nursing programs online.

Both master's and doctoral programs in psychiatric nursing can be found online but usually in a hybrid format due to the clinical element. Common courses include topics about the care, research, and assessment of a wide variety of patients.

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