Master’s students in the Duke University School of Nursing (DUSON) have the opportunity to enroll in a new major in Psychiatric Mental Health as of the Spring 2018 semester. This newest major being offered is for Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN) students interested in pursuing a specialty nursing track.

Duke believes in the importance of specialty education programs to ensure that nursing students who go into specialty areas have the formal training they need. Students enrolling in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program at Duke have the opportunity to choose from one of eight majors, and to pursue an additional specialty track if they are interested. Each major and specialty has its own course requirements and formal clinical rotation requirements that must be met to earn a specialty certificate.

The Psychiatric Mental Health program is the eighth and latest major offered for nurse practitioner students. Majors are also available in gerontology care, family nurse practitioner, neonatal and pediatric nurse practitioner, and women’s health nurse practitioner. The MSN program also recently added two new specialties in Endocrinology and HIV/AIDS, and a pediatric mental health specialty is set to be launched in the near future.

Beth C. Phillips, PhD, MSN, RN, CNE, tells, “To think about why we do a new program – it’s not because we have a faculty member who would be great at it, so let’s create a new program. We create a program based on community need – local, national or global. The newest major, for example, was added after we recognized there was a scarcity of mental health providers in the state. Behavioral concerns and the addiction crisis in our country demanded a more advanced and skilled workforce in nursing.”

With specialty nursing becoming more and more prevalent, Duke is “aiming to identify community health care needs and respond proactively to meet those needs,” according to Creating new programs is a long process for the university, involving tracking legislature and literature to see what needs are already being met by the healthcare community, and which are not. Once new areas are identified, the university has to hire new staff and create partnerships with clinical sites, in addition to approving new financial resources through the Dean.

To learn more about Duke Nursing’s latest nurse practitioner major in Psychiatric Mental Health, visit here.

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