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Rasmussen University Launches Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialization

New MSN program specialization to help address the need for mental health professionals across the U.S.

Rasmussen University, a university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, today announced the launch of its Master of Science in Nursing Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialization. The new Nurse Practitioner (NP) specialization is the fourth specialization in the University’s MSN portfolio, which allow students to take their Nursing career to a new level of practice.

Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners are trained to care for patients with mental health issues, including but not limited to: anxiety, depression and substance use disorders, which are on the rise across the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, almost 20% of adults and approximately half of adolescents struggle with some level of mental illness. The COVID-19 pandemic has also heightened the need for mental health services in recent years with many Americans today experiencing feelings of uncertainty and depression. According to a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll, nearly 9 in 10 registered voters believe there’s a mental health crisis in the nation.

“As the need for mental health services continues to expand, so does the need for PMHNPs,” said Dr. Josh Hamilton, dean and director of the Rasmussen University School of Nursing’s graduate programs. “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected job growth between 2020 and 2030 for nurse practitioners who work in state, local and private psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals is 14 percent. The need is greater at residential mental health and substance abuse facilities with job growth projected at 25 percent. Our new PMHNP specialization plays a vital role in healthcare by allowing students the flexibility to return to school and positively impact mental health shortages within their own communities.”

The PMHNP specialization at Rasmussen is designed for working nurses and combines online courses with hands-on practicum experiences in a student’s local community, giving them the flexibility they need and the advanced training they expect. Students can earn their degree in as few as nine quarters or just over 27 months.

“We designed our PMHNP specialization with the goal of preparing nurses not only for a career in mental health, but to become balanced practitioners and expert clinicians,” said Hamilton. “Every element of the specialization, from faculty interaction to online coursework, is designed to complement compassionate patient care with the science of psychiatric-mental health.”

As part of the MSN PMHNP program, students will experience:

  • Empowered Learning through eleven-week courses that allow students flexibility to use professional and life experience to demonstrate some skills faster as well as slow down and spend time on the areas they need to strengthen
  • Technology-focused nursing classes that prepare students for future technological advancements and innovations
  • Doctorally-prepared nursing faculty who will share their wealth of experiences, knowledge and connections to further students’ preparation in the field
  • A dedicated support team of advisors, faculty, leadership, library resources, 24/7 support center and practicum coordinators
  • Coursework and practicum experiences that prepare students to sit for the PMHNP board certification exam
  • A final practicum experience where students can choose the population and setting in mental health where they want to focus

This is Rasmussen’s first Nurse Practitioner specialization. Rasmussen University also offers three other MSN specializations, including Nursing Leadership and Administration, Nursing Education and Healthcare Technology, Simulation and Informatics.

For more information on the new MSN PMHNP specialization, please visit


Rasmussen University, a university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is dedicated to changing lives and the communities it serves through innovative and flexible educational programs. As a pioneer in career-focused education since 1900, the University is defining a new generation of higher education that focuses on competency-based education, technology and transferrable skills. Rasmussen offers undergraduate and graduate programs online and in person at 23 campuses around the country. The University is designed to lift and support its students every step of the way, from each student’s first credential to their last. Rasmussen is dedicated to global enrichment, serving the underserved and meeting the evolving needs of diverse students, communities and economies. Rasmussen encourages its students, faculty and staff to strive for academic excellence, community enrichment and service to the public good. For more information about Rasmussen University, please visit


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