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Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing


The Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Program (PMHNP) is for those who want to achieve excellence in their practice so they can make a significant difference in the lives of the individuals they encounter daily.

Psychiatric mental health nursing is an exciting and rewarding specialty comprised of several sub-specialties which require specialized knowledge and skills. It not only demands technical know-how, but a strong commitment to team work, advocacy, and plenty of compassion and flexibility as well. It is a deeply rewarding area in which to work, giving back to you as much as you give it.

The PMHNP offers a dynamic curriculum to registered nurses commencing a fulfilling career in this specialty area or actively practicing and wanting to obtain formal education and distinction in the specialty. Obtaining specialization in psychiatric mental health nursing not only demonstrates your ongoing dedication and commitment to individuals in your care but to the specialty and your professional career development. The content covered in the program further prepares eligible nurses to write the Canadian Nurses Association Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing certification exam. (Program hours may be eligible towards the experience and/or education requirements for the Canadian Nurses Association Exam – Certification in Psychiatric and Mental health Nursing).

The part-time, online distance option has been designed to allow learners to work full-time while studying at a reasonable pace. Prior approval from a specialty manager is required before registering for a program.

The competencies for the PMHNP are defined in six general areas and include:

  • Patient-Centred Care - the ability to provide compassionate, coordinated, and competent care whilerespecting the patient as a full partner.
  • Team Work and Collaboration – the ability to function as a member of a collaborative team to promote integrated, continuous, and reliable care.
  • Evidence Informed Practice – the ability to use current evidence coupled with clinical expertise and consideration of patient’s preferences, experience, and values to make best practice decisions.
  • Quality Improvement – the ability to integrate improvement strategies into practice to improve the quality and safety of health care systems.
  • Safety – the ability to integrate strategies to reduce the risk of harm to patients and providers by beingaccountable for individual performance and promoting a culture of safety within the health care system.
  • Informatics - the ability to use information and communication technologies to communicate, manageknowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making to enhance patient, provider, and system outcomes.

Learners benefit from online and classroom led group discussions in addition to skills labs where newly acquired knowledge is practiced using various modalities including simulation. Knowledge is assessed through examinations and skills are assessed through an Objective Structure Clinical Exam (OSCE) prior to preceptor-led clinical experiences. At the completion of this program, you will be able to provide safe, effective, compassionate care to clients and their families, at the level of advanced beginner.

Recognition of Prior Learning

If you are a registered nurse with existing knowledge, skills, and/or experience fundamental to psychiatric mental health nursing, you may qualify to receive credit towards program requirements. RPL must be requested before the start of the program.

The Part-time Study Option:  

  • August 30, 2019 to May 27, 2020;  Program Resuming July 6, 2020.
  • August, 2020 - May, 2021;   Program on hold for revision, to be offered in 2021 (more details to follow).
    • Completed over 9 months starting late August.
    • Faculty-supported lessons requiring on average 12 hours of independent study per week (depending on learning style and previous experience in the specialty area and with distance education).
    • Five on-site skill lab days
    • Two clinical practicum period totaling 160 hours of preceptored clinical.
    • Every effort is made to provide required clinical learning experiences at the site closest to the learner’s home; however, traveling might be required.

Registered Nurses in any of RNPDC programs which have clinical components require active BLS(c) for HCP.  The course can be readily obtained from St. John Ambulance or Heart and Stroke of Nova Scotia. RNPDC requires a copy of your active card on file.

If your BLS (c) is going to expire during the program, faculty recommends you recertify PRIOR to entering the program. 

Contact Information:

Program Costs

Academic Fees (for payment options, click here):
Course materials: $200.00
Tuition: $400.00

Textbooks (approx.) $200.00