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Fairfield University's Master of Science in Nursing, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program prepares students to assess, diagnose, and provide primary mental health care for people of all ages from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups who are suffering from psychiatric disorders and mental health problems. Individual, group, and family therapy, as well as medication management are important components of the curriculum. Graduates of our program work in a wide variety of settings, including private practice, home care, emergency rooms, integrated behavioral clinics, extended care facilities, residential treatment centers, and community mental health centers. Fall term entry only.
Sneak Peek | Fairfield University School of Nursing and Health Studies
Fairfield University’s Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing Simulation Center
Fairfield Egan Fast Facts
- U.S. News and World Report
Requirements & Curriculum
|Healthcare Leadership Roles for Systems Improvement|
|Epidemiology and Biostatistics|
|Advanced Healthcare Policy|
|Research Methods for Evidenced-Based Practice|
|Information Technology for Healthcare Improvement|
|Advanced Health Assessment|
|Advanced Physiology and Pathophysiology|
|Mental Health Nursing of Children and Adolescents|
|Mental Health Nursing of Individuals Across the Lifespan|
|Foundational Clinical Skills for Advanced Psychiatric Nursing Practice|
|Mental Health Nursing of Groups and Families Across the Lifespan|
|Primary Mental Health Nursing of At-Risk Populations Across the Lifespan|
|Practicum I: PMHNP|
|Practicum II: PMHNP|
|Practicum III: PMHNP|
A detailed list of course requirements, offerings, and more can be viewed in the University’s course catalog.
Applicants for the MS in Nursing, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program must hold a baccalaureate degree in nursing from a regionally accredited college or university (or the international equivalent) with a quality point average of 3.0 or higher preferred. RN applicants who have a non-nursing bachelor's degree will be considered on an individual basis and may be required to complete select prerequisites to be eligible for admission to the MSN program.
What were your reasons for choosing Fairfield University for your advanced degree?
I searched far and wide for an APRN PMHNP program. I was willing to move in order to attend a program that offered everything I was looking for. I wanted to attend a program with a strong reputation and a presence within the local community. I also sought a program that offered small class sizes that were held on campus and taught by supportive professors who had my back. Fairfield University provided me with all of this and more. Many large and well known universities have moved to an entirely online program and no longer find clinical placements for their students. In contrast, Fairfield University provides its PMHNP students with clinical placements and does their best to offer students the exact placements they want. I moved from Maryland to Connecticut to attend the MSN program, and I don’t have any regrets about this decision.
What have you liked about your Fairfield education?
I am highly satisfied with my Fairfield education. The quality of the instructors, and specifically instructors for the PMHNP speciality courses, was outstanding. I felt supported and always knew that If a problem arose, that my professors would be there to help me through it. Coursework was challenging, but manageable, and I was able to continue working throughout the program. Furthermore, my clinical sites were great. Students were able to list their top choices for clinical placements, and I was placed at my top choice of clinical site. I also really appreciated the trauma focus of the program and the focus on psychotherapy skills. Additionally, the program included clinical simulations, case discussions, presentations, and journal clubs. These prepared me well for my first APRN position.
What would you tell someone considering an advanced degree at Fairfield?
I highly recommend the PMHNP program! I consider attending Fairfield to be walking down the ‘road less traveled.’ This is because there are a plethora of widely available PMHNP programs that are 100% online and less expensive than Fairfield. If you attend Fairfield’s program, it will be more challenging than these programs, but you will learn much more and be better prepared for the responsibilities that come with your new APRN role. I considered the online programs, but I’m so glad I chose Fairfield for my PMHNP education.
How has working toward your advanced degree at Fairfield affected your life?
I wanted to attend a PMHNP program that prepared me for the real world of APRN practice and allowed me to have a job before graduating. Attending Fairfield University’s PMHNP program allowed me to reach both of these goals. I had accepted an APRN position several months before graduation. I studied for about 2 weeks for my ANCC PMHNP boards, and passed with no problems. Since starting at my new job, I have felt very well prepared for my new role and my supervisors have given me positive feedback about my level of preparedness. If I could go back in time and was given the option to attend Fairfield or another program, I would 100% choose to attend Fairfield again.
More About MS in Nursing Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Across the Lifespan
Career & Professional Opportunities
In Fairfield's Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Program, you'll develop skills to provide care for adults from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic groups in a wide variety of settings: in-patient, community-based, and private practice. You'll learn to care for patients with a variety of mental disorders, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and thought disorders. You'll also have the opportunity to develop expertise in caring for special populations, such as substance abuse, elderly, or forensic mental health.
Skills That You'll Develop
- Psychiatric assessment and diagnosis
- Individual psychotherapy
- Family and group work
- Medication management
- Application of research findings for evidence-based practice
- Professional and academic writing
- Public speaking/oral presentation
As a graduate, you'll be prepared to work as clinical faculty in undergraduate nursing programs. After one year of practice, you'll be prepared to serve as a preceptor for graduate students in psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner programs.
Settings That Have Traditionally Sought Out Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners
- In-patient psychiatric units
- Emergency departments
- Long-term care facilities
- Home care agencies
- Out-patient behavioral health clinics
- Correctional facilities
- K-12 schools
- Colleges and universities
- Residential treatment programs
- Staff development departments
Learn about how Fairfield's Career Center can support your post-graduate goals, and how Fairfield's tight-knit alumni network can build career and mentoring opportunities that last a lifetime.
Diversity and Inclusive Excellence
As a Jesuit, Catholic university, Fairfield is dedicated to diversity and inclusion; to radical hospitality in service of racial, social, and economic justice.
We invite you to view the Egan Update, a year in review of Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing & Health Studies news.
Faculty & Staff
Fairfield University’s Egan School boasts experienced faculty who inspire students to become leaders across social and healthcare environments. These students are actively engaged with faculty in practice, policy, scholarship, and service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Individuals can complete either a DNP or a Masters’ program in their chosen area of specialty in order to become certified as a nurse practitioner. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners apply for board certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC); visit their website for more information on the requirements for certification.
The National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties is responsible for developing the nurse practitioner competencies. This is true for both MSN and DNP preparation.
Upon completing the program at Fairfield University, a certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner can work with clients across the lifespan and in all clinical settings including acute care, community clinic, Federally Qualified Health Centers, corrections facilities, academic health centers, and private practice.
Students can transfer up to six core credits if the courses are similar. Evaluation of transfer credits are approved by the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.
The Egan School has developed a special program allowing certified Family Nurse Practitioners to complete all required didactic and clinical coursework as well as DNP coursework as full-time students in two years and as part-time students in three years.
Call or email Dr. Kate Wheeler, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2708 for more information.