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College of Nursing to offer psychiatric mental health postgraduate certificate

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College of Nursing to offer psychiatric mental health postgraduate certificate

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With only 37 certified and licensed psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners practicing in South Dakota, South Dakota State University’s College of Nursing was recently approved to offer a postgraduate certificate program to address that shortage.

The 18-credit, part-time online program is ideal for advanced practice registered nurses, particularly family nurse practitioners, who want to enhance their practice. The certificate can be completed in four semesters.

South Dakota has more than 1,100 certified nurse practitioners but only 3.3 percent of them are in the psychiatric mental-health area, according to the South Dakota Center for Nursing Workforce’s publication, South Dakota Nursing Workforce Supply and Employment Characteristics: 2019.

“This certificate will enhance the scope of practice for the nurse practitioner to provide more holistic health care,” said Kay Foland, a professor in the College of Nursing and an advanced practice psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. “Persons needing health care more than likely to have a number of health concerns, including emotional and mental health issues. Completing the psychiatric mental health certificate will better prepare the family nurse practitioner to provide a more comprehensive, competent and evidenced-based practice level of care.”

According to Foland, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are in high demand. After earning the certificate, individuals can work in outpatient clinics, primary-care units, private practices, community health and community mental health centers, and hospitals. They may also provide services in substance abuse programs, high-risk pregnancy centers, schools, prisons and trauma centers.

“We know family nurse practitioners assess for mental-health needs across the life span but are limited in treating the needs without the specialized certification,” said Mary Minton, associate dean of graduate nursing for the college. “The proposed certificate prepares graduates to provide much needed high-quality mental-health care in a variety of settings in rural and urban South Dakota. It increases much-needed access to psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in our state where a serious shortage currently exists.”

Classes start fall 2019. For more information, visit www.sdstate.edu/nursing/graduate-nursing/.

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