A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) is a nurse with an advanced degree and specialized training. Most registered nurses (RN) have a bachelor’s degree. A nurse practitioner (NP) will have a Master’s degree or Doctorate and typically a specific specialization, in this case, psychiatry and the treatment of mental health issues.

Can Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners Diagnose and Prescribe?

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners are capable of diagnosing all psychiatric, emotional, and behavioral disorders. These include all the common issues like depression and anxiety as well as more complicated issues like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance abuse issues, and ADHD. Psychiatric nurse practitioners also have prescriptive authority and can prescribe all classes of medications such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and psychostimulants. The only restrictions are state-specific. Some psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners may need to work under the supervision of a psychiatrist either ongoing or for a limited time following licensure.

What is the Difference Between a Psychiatrist and a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner?  

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have earned an MD or DO and completed a residency in psychiatry. A psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner also holds an advanced degree (Master’s or Doctorate) from a nursing program. Psychiatrists may have a couple more years of school and specialization, but both treat mental health disorders. This is similar to counseling. Most counselors or therapists have a Master’s degree, whereas most psychologists have a doctorate. A psychologist may have a couple more years of school and some specialized training such as psychological testing. Nonetheless, both counselors and psychologists do psychotherapy just like both psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners treat mental health issues with medications.

Is it Acceptable to See a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Instead of a Psychiatrist?

There are several reasons some people would prefer to see a psychiatric nurse practitioner instead of a psychiatrist. In many states there are more psychiatric nurse practitioners than there are psychiatrists, so often people can get in sooner to see a psychiatric nurse practitioner. For people with a high deductible health plan, a psychiatric nurse practitioner is often a more cost-effective choice as their rates are a bit lower. Some people find psychiatric nurse practitioners have a friendlier interaction whereas some psychiatrists may be a bit more clinical and detached, however, bedside manner is often more specific to the person.

Maple Grove Psychiatrists

If you are interested in meeting with someone from our psychiatric team of providers, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an individual consultation with one of our psychiatric providers so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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