Clinical Practicum Information
Online Learning Information
Tuition and Financial Aid
The PMHNP degree program admits twice a year using a pooled review process. See the Quick Links box on the Program Information page for admission deadlines.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduate is equipped to affect change and be a leader in the business of health care. Rush University College of Nursing is one of the first colleges in the nation to award the practice doctorate (1990). Building on the established role of the master’s-prepared nurse, the DNP program at Rush provides real world experience in strategic planning, communication to affect change, data management and application of critical business concepts.
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) recommend that schools of nursing prepare those entering advanced practice at their highest practice degree, the Doctor of Nursing Practice. This recommendation is to take place by 2015. Rush University College of Nursing will be prepared to meet this timeline and will transition to the BSN to DNP program of study in Fall Semester 2012 for new matriculants.
It is not expected that those already in the workforce will need to return to school for their DNP in order to continue practice. Some may select to do so, especially if it is early in one’s career.
1) RN licensure in the state in which you practice;
2) BSN or MSN Degree
3) GRE (please see waiver policy to see if you meet the policy requirements).
The GRE is waived if any one of the following conditions is met:
1. Cumulative GPA of 3.25 or greater
2. Pre-licensure nursing GPA of 3.0 or greater.
3. Graduate GPA (of a completed degree) of 3.5 or greater.
Rush will receive verified GPA calculations from NursingCAS only after they have received all of your official transcripts. If you believe you will need to submit GRE scores, we suggest you prepare for the exam and take it sooner rather than later as we cannot review your application until official GRE scores have been received. These scores must be received by Rush University before the application deadline. Your scores will be sent to the institutions you designate within 10 to 15 days after your test date. The Rush University College of Nursing GRE code is 3262.
If you have taken the GRE within the last five years Educational Testing Service (ETS) will send a copy of your scores directly to Rush. If you have taken the GRE more than five years ago and have the original score report, you may submit a copy directly to Rush. The College of Nursing will also accept GRE scores from any point in time, as long as an official report of the score can be obtained. The College of Nursing will also accept an official school document that contains GRE scores.
While we do not require any experience to apply to the PMHNP program we highly recommend that you either already work in a clinical psychiatric setting or plan to begin working in one when you start the program.
Yes. Space is extremely limited and it is preferable to already be a certified advanced practice nurse; thus, a clinical MSN or DNP degree is strongly suggested. Candidates with non-clinical specialty MSNs (i.e., education, administration) may also apply to our post-graduate programs. However, students with a non-clinical specialty master’s degree will need many of the same courses as the students in the DNP degree program. Students in a degree program have the option for more financial aid, making this a better choice for those students requiring financial aid. Once admitted, students seeking the DNP degree will want to seek transfer of eligible graduate courses through the Office of the Registrar.
International students need a test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) for students who are non-native speakers of English or who have not completed a minimum of three (3) years of higher education and received their baccalaureate degree in the United States. Foreign transcripts must be translated by one of two specific translation services. For more information contact: Office of College Admissions Services, firstname.lastname@example.org
, (312) 942-7100.
Three professional letters of recommendation are required from faculty and/or work managers with at least one letter from a current or recent employer. Relationship of recommenders to you must be in a supervisory capacity who can evaluate your ability to be successful in graduate school and as an APRN. Co-workers, colleagues, subordinates or friends are not acceptable recommenders.
Your application will be submitted through a centralized application system called NursingCAS. All application materials (e.g., personal statement, CV, recommendations, etc.) will be submitted through NursingCAS. Once your application is complete and verified through NursingCAS submitted to Rush, it will be evaluated in a pooled review process. Qualified applicants will be invited to submit a brief Rush supplemental application and interview with a faculty member. We strongly encourage candidates to interview in person with faculty. Plan to be on campus for about one hour. However, if you live more than 50 miles away, you may choose to interview by phone. We will use the email address you provide for all contact regarding your application status.
After all qualified applicants are interviewed your application will be reviewed in a “pool” with the other applicants for that cohort. Admission recommendations are then forwarded to the Admissions and Progressions Committee of the College of Nursing. It is their charge to offer admission to qualified candidates.
Job opportunities are extensive with not enough PNHMP graduates to fill the available positions. We regularly send news of job opportunities to our clinical students and alumni, in addition to posting them on the college’s LinkedIn group that is accessible to current students and alumni.
After successfully graduating from our program you may sit for national certification as a PMHNP with either an adult or family focus through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
The PMHNP certification has been accepted by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Whether you live in Illinois or elsewhere it is a good idea to know your state nurse practice act. The website at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing is one place to obtain information about guidelines for doing practicum when attending an out of state university as well as your state’s nurse practice act which delineates what you need to do to get licensed.
The PMHNP program of study prepares the student to sit for the national certification examination. Most of our students take a review course. Preparation for certification exams increases confidence and the likelihood of success. We highly recommend that you prepare for the exam by taking a certification review course. Some students choose to do their own preparation using certification review books or their course texts. Graduates of the Rush PMHNP program have an exceptional first time pass rate on the national examination.
Most students complete their coursework during the summer term and apply for certification at that time. Transcripts will not be prepared and sent out to the certification company until after the end of the term. This usually occurs by mid September. When the certification company receives all the required information the applicant is contacted and a testing date is determined. Results of the exam are usually available by mid-October.
Clinical Practicum Information
You need to obtain a minimum of 500 clinical hours to sit for the ANCC PMHNP certification exam. Our program currently offers 620 clinical hours including online clinical supervision with Rush Faculty. The DNP will offer a total of 1,000 clinical hours including the completion of a DNP capstone project. We work with PMNCNS students to determine what clinical hours can be transferred in.
+ Students are required to declare their area of concentration prior to beginning clinical rotations. Additional practicum hours may be required by area of concentration and/or individual student needs.
++ Additional residency hours may be required by area of concentration and/or individual student needs.
No. While we can’t count your experience toward college credit, we do consider your background when setting up your clinical practicum. Less clinical practicum time will be needed in areas where you are already competent, allowing you to spend more time on skills that you haven’t used as much in previous practice. In other words, your clinical time can be tailored to your specific needs.
A Rush faculty member will assist you in identifying an appropriate preceptor and clinical placement as close to your home as possible. We do this by identifying a qualified clinician who is willing to precept you. If you know of someone with whom you would like to work, we will investigate their appropriateness and availability.
Preceptors must be certified and practicing as advanced practice nurses in psychiatric mental health nursing. In the absence of an appropriate advanced practice nurse, we will negotiate with a psychiatrist to be your preceptor. You can only have one preceptor at a time. However, your designated supervisor can oversee experiences with other clinicians that s/he deems are qualified to supervise you in completing some of the competencies that you will need. The designated preceptor rates your clinical performance twice a term, at midterm and final.
If you know of someone with whom you would like to work, we will investigate their appropriateness and availability. If you do not know of anyone, we will attempt to identify someone for you. We make all contractual arrangements with preceptors and clinical sites.
No. All clinical experiences must be on U.S. soil. However, this does include overseas army and naval bases.
We do not allow students earning a degree to do their practicum or residency on the unit where they work. However, you can do your clinical and residency at your place of employment on a different unit as long as you receives adequate supervision for the role in which you are preparing.
The Rush University College of Nursing was re-accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) in 2009. The College was accredited for ten years through 2019, the maximum granted by CCNE.
Starting in the fall term 2012 all new students will apply to the DNP degree program. Application deadlines and program start dates appear in the Program Information Quick Links box.
I am applying to the DNP degree program. I have taken some graduate courses at another school. Will they count as part of my degree at Rush? Courses that you have taken for graduate credit elsewhere can be reviewed for equivalence after you are admitted. This process involves filling out a form and submitting the form and the course syllabus to the Rush Office of the Registrar, who obtains approval from the equivalent course director at Rush. After you are admitted you will work with your faculty advisor to develop a program of study. At least half of the required credits for a degree program must be taken at Rush.
Can I send my transcripts for you to review and provide a tentative plan of study?
No. We no longer provide a transcript review service before admission to our program. But we have made it easy for you to determine which courses might be considered equivalent by posting our program of study in the “PMHNP Quick Links” box. We suggest that you examine your transcripts and make a list of the courses you believe may transfer, download the “Request for Transfer Form” and fill one out for each course you want reviewed. Once you are accepted you may confer with your assigned advisor and immediately submit the forms and required documentation through the formal transfer process. This form can be downloaded from the Registrar’s Office
, by clicking the link.
The DNP program will be four years part-time or three years full-time. The full-time option may not available to distance students. The post-graduate option takes two years part-time.
Students start their specialty coursework with NRS 535A, the psychiatric assessment course the term prior to the last year. The physical assessment course is taught this same term. There is a brief campus visit with these courses. The specialty management coursework continues through the last full year of the program. All PMHNP students take NRS 535B, 535C and 535D, Management II, III and IV. These courses are offered in an online format with the clinical practicum and residency. An online clinical supervision course is built in as part of the clinical practicum. During the final summer term students present their capstone project. This may be done online or on campus. Students are expected to attend all of their classmates’ presentations.
Hotel stays are required during the campus visits. The university is located just outside the downtown area on a major expressway. It is also conveniently located near mass transit lines from both O’Hare International and Midway airports. Traveling in this manner takes approximately one hour from either airport. Most students arrange to share accommodations, and we can advise you on nearby hotels.
If you are a post-master’s student we recommend that you do your residency hours in a place similar to one where you aspire to work after you graduate. If you don’t have a job yet, residency is a great time to get to know a workplace and for them to get to know you as you provide high quality care to patients or systems at no cost to them. On the other hand, if you plan to continue to work in a particular area, a residency outside of your work environment may provide you with an opportunity to get to know other systems or to work with preceptors you may admire or choose as mentors. That said, we do allow postgraduate students to do their residency at their place of employment if it is in a different area and if an appropriate preceptor is present and your student hours are distinct from your paid hours.
Yes. You can move to Chicago and do the PMHNP program full-time in three years. The full-time program requires that you take several courses on campus. This option may not available for distance students. This plan is ideal for registered nurses who are in the armed forces and receive a stipend and time to prepare to be an advanced practice psychiatric mental health nurse.
Probably not, unless you are transferring in at least three courses. Plan on taking two courses a term in a part-time program and three to four courses a term in the full-time program.
Yes. You can take up to 12 credits of classes as a student-at-large. There are some restrictions. Some employers will not provide tuition reimbursement. Taking classes as a student-at-large does not guarantee you admission.
A student-at-large is one who is taking courses, but has not been formally admitted to the university as a student. Anyone who wants to take a course at Rush can enroll for up to 12 credit hours of courses as a student-at-large. The student-at-large can take courses for credit that will count (as long as they achieve a grade of B or better), if and when they are accepted as a student. Other reasons for taking courses as at large students include self-enrichment, or to supplement a degree at another school. Not all of the courses are open to students-at-large. To apply to take courses as a student-at-large download the form from the Forms Section of the Registrar’s Office on the Rush University website: http://www.rushu.rush.edu/pdffiles/salnsg.pdf and follow the directions listed on the form.
Course enrollment is not guaranteed while in student-at-large status. With this status there is no advisor, student loan support or tuition reimbursement. Taking courses early may also disrupt the program of study resulting in loss of eligibility for financial aid or mandated leaves of absences during later terms. Taking courses early will not move up a student to an earlier graduating class cohort.
That depends. Most students do work and find full- or part-time work manageable with our part-time program. Most students find that it is difficult to work full-time especially once they start the clinical practicum which is two days a week during the entire last year. The last year of the program must be taken as full time. Every student must evaluate their own time management skills, personal commitments and family responsibilities before deciding if the time is right to pursue a graduate education. Discussion of your work and time commitments is a part of the interview process.
(I once went to all the trouble to start in an online program and during the middle of the program they informed me they would not be offering the classes anymore because of low enrollment.)
Yes, our program is stable. We have more than 80 students enrolled, and continue to grow. Will students learn to do psychotherapy in your program? You will get coursework and supervised practice in individual and group therapy with your chosen population.
The family PMHNP track coursework covers the lifespan and provides child clinical experiences as well as adult experiences. Though you may see the parents and grandparents of the children in groups and individual sessions, the focus of the clinical experience is on children. The family PMHNP student also takes an extra course, Child Mental Health Assessment. While there is no specific coursework on family dynamics, you are provided additional readings, clinical supervision and guidance if you see families in your clinical experience.
The adult PMHNP track coursework is the same as that of the family track, with one less course (no need to take the child mental health assessment course). As an adult-focused PMHNP you may see patients aged 16 and up in your clinical practice.
You need to select the program focus at the time you apply for admission.
That depends on the type of degree that you have. If you already have a master’s degree in a clinical nursing specialty, you should be eligible for either the postgraduate certificate program or the DNP degree program.
If your MS is in another field, such as psychology, communication or education, or it is a nursing master’s, but not a clinical specialty nursing master’s -- such as clinical nurse leadership, generalist, administration, research or education -- and you will be seeking financial aid, it is more advantageous for you to apply for a degree program rather than a post-graduate certificate.
If your master's is in another area and you are already certified as an advanced practice nurse, you will need our clinical seminars and a year of practicum/residency. The program is about two years. Typically there is no clinical requirement the first year, but you attend clinical two days a week the second year. The second year is considered a full-time load. To view the program and to determine which courses you may need, check our website posted here
. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom to view the post-master's requirements and prerequisites.
The typical adult psychiatric mental health CNS to NP certificate program includes the following courses: Advanced Pathophysiology, Neuropathophysiology, Advanced Pharmacology, Psychopharmacology, Diagnosis and Management I (Mental Health Assessment), Role Transition and a negotiated amount of clinical practicum/residency hours.
We are not offering this transition at this time.
We do not have a post-graduate option for you. You should enroll in the PMHNP adult or family degree program.
In keeping with its goal of promoting diversity through its equal opportunity and affirmative action programs, Rush University is committed to attracting students who will enable the student body to achieve the educational benefits of diversity, and to provide services to all students, faculty and other employees on a nondiscriminatory, equitable basis. Discrimination or harassment against any member of the Rush University Medical Center community because of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status or parental status, disability as defined by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, or any other category protected by federal or state law is prohibited and will not be tolerated, nor will any person for those reasons be excluded from participation or denied the benefits of any program or activity within Rush University. Paula J. Brown, manager, diversity, inclusion, community employment liaison, has been designated to oversee this program. Paula Brown can be contacted by email at email@example.com
Online Learning Information
Yes, our psychiatric mental health NP programs are entirely online. The Health Assessment and Mental Health Assessment courses each have a required trip to campus for one or two days each, which are usually scheduled together during the term before your yearlong clinical practicum begins. The DNP program which we will begin in Fall 2012 will also be all online. This will be a four-year part-time program.
Some of the courses in our graduate nursing core and advanced practice nursing core are offered in several formats (online, in class, and compressed). Compressed courses are guided online but include an extended visit to campus (usually over a weekend). You may work with your advisor to meet your needs in this area.
You need to understand what ANCC requires for certification as well as what your state requires for licensure. You should contact your state nursing association to inquire about state licensing requirements. Here is URL for the list of state nursing associations: http://nursingworld.org/cmas/listuri.cfm
No. Almost everything is asynchronous, which means you can log on any time day or night. You should be aware that some exams must be taken online as scheduled so watch for those schedules.
The online courses work in much the same structure as in-class courses. You register for a term and follow the pace set by the instructor and structure of the course. In lieu of in-person lectures, faculty provides instructor notes and activities that are designed to guide the student through and deepen their understanding of the material. As with traditional formats, there are assigned readings. Most courses also include asynchronous chat sessions that allow students to post questions and responses to each other and to the instructors. Some activities include a guided interactive component, similar to classroom discussions. If a class has exams as part of its evaluation mechanism, those exams are taken online.
Much of the graduate work is completed with the use of a computer. You will need a strong Internet connection and abundant RAM memory as online education programs are very memory intensive. Wireless connections can be problematic for test taking and viewing recorded lectures. So for these activities wired connection access is recommended. Apple products are compatible with Rush online education for most activities; however, some students have reported annoying slow-downs and the inability to view some recorded lectures. You will also need a printer/copier/scanner. These all-in-one products are very inexpensive but invaluable when sending in assignments and paperwork.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Current tuition can be found on our website
There may be loans or financial aid available for students in degree programs who take a half-time program of study. You may explore these issues on our financial aid website.
Student loans are available only for the first year of study. This is a national standard, not one devised by Rush University. Contact the Financial Aid Office for further information.
If your questions are about the admissions process (file management, transcripts, letters of recommendation, committee review, etc.) please call the RU admissions office at:
If your questions relate to the psychiatric mental health NP program email:
Kathleen Delaney, PMHNP, FNP