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I wonder if mental health NPs are not very much in demand as I've noticed there are few MSN programs with this focus?

Thursday March 6, 2014
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Question:

Dear Donna,

I am a recent graduate of an accelerated BSN program and just landed my first nursing job on a med/surg floor. Prior to nursing, I earned a BA in criminal justice and worked in probation/parole.

I have always been fascinated by mental health and psychiatry, and am considering applying to a MSN program with this focus. There do not seem to be many universities offering mental health MSN programs. Is this because there isn't as high of demand for mental health NPs?

I'm also concerned about becoming too narrowed in my interests and stuck in a career with limited options.

Fascinated By Mental Health

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Fascinated By Mental Health,

Because psych is a smaller specialty overall (as opposed to acute care or family health), there are fewer programs. There is a high demand for psych NPs and many opportunities within that specialty. Mental health is really a very broad and diverse field.

Talk to other successful psych NPs for an accurate overview. Find them by asking the local chapter of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (www.apna.org), and through your state chapter of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (www.aanp.org). When there’s something you are considering doing, it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing it. Follow your heart and the rest will work itself out

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.