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Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner DNP Curriculum

Program Student Learning Outcomes

The Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner DNP program prepares graduates to be highly developed clinicians and leaders.

You are prepared to practice in a variety of complex clinical, organizational and educational systems with diverse populations.

Our program gives you the tools to affect changes in health care outcomes through evidence-based decision-making and system redesign.

Graduates meet the following outcomes:

  • Integrate science-based theories and data-based concepts to develop, critically appraise and implement practice approaches that improve health care and health care systems
  • Apply organizational theories and systems thinking to improve the quality, cost-effectiveness and safety outcomes of practice decisions and initiatives
  • Apply effective strategies for managing the ethical dilemmas inherent in patient care, the health care organization and research
  • Apply knowledge of informatics to monitor and improve outcomes, programs and systems of care
  • Provide leadership in influencing policies on the financing, regulation and delivery of health care
  • Lead interprofessional teams to improve patient and population health outcomes
  • Function independently in an advanced nursing role to improve health outcomes in a specialty area of practice

Graduates Meet the Following Standards

Students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree need to complete a minimum of 68 term hours.

Students who are an advanced practice registered nurse, or APRN, have a master’s degree must complete 41 term hours. Master’s-prepared students who are not APRNs must complete 56 term hours.

All students must complete the degree requirements within five years.


Clinical and DNP Experience 

You need to obtain a minimum of 500 clinical hours to sit for the certification exam. Our program offers 630 precepted clinical hours and additional online clinical supervision by RUSH faculty. 

You will complete 756 clock hours of clinical practica and 252 DNP project clock hours for a total of 1,008 clock hours. 

Clinical experiences can take place in a wide variety of settings, including the following:

  • Inpatient psychiatric units
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Outpatient community mental health centers

Finding clinical placements is a collaborative process between the student, the program director and our clinical placement team. We make all contractual arrangements with preceptors and clinical sites.

If you want to work with a specific clinician, we will investigate their appropriateness and availability to be your preceptor.

A preceptor can be a psychiatrist or a nurse practitioner certified and practicing as an advanced practice nurse in psychiatric mental health.

We do not allow students earning a degree to complete their practicum or residency on the unit where they work. However, you can do your clinical and residency on a different unit as long as you receive adequate supervision.