Expanding rural access to mental health care through online postgraduate nurse practitioner education

Karan S. Kverno, Kate Kozeniewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background and purpose: Workforce shortages in mental health care are especially relevant to rural communities. People often turn to their primary care providers for mental healthcare services, yet primary care providers indicate that more education is needed to fill this role. Rural primary care nurse practitioners (NPs) are ideal candidates for educational enhancement. Online programs allow NPs to continue living and working in their communities while developing the competencies to provide comprehensive and integrated mental healthcare services. This article presents a review of current online postgraduate psychiatric mental health NP (PMHNP) options. Methods: Website descriptions of online PMHNP programs were located using keywords: PMHNP or psychiatric nurse practitioner, postgraduate or post-master's, and distance or online. Conclusions: Across the United States, 15 online postgraduate certificate programs were located that are designed for primary care NPs seeking additional PMHNP specialization. Implications for practice: For rural primary care NPs who are ready, willing, and able, a postgraduate PMHNP specialty certificate can be obtained online in as few as three to four semesters. The expected outcome is a cadre of dually credentialed NPs capable of functioning in an integrated role and of increasing rural access to comprehensive mental healthcare services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-651
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners
Volume28
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2016

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Keywords

  • distance education
  • mental health
  • Nurse practitioners
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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