Winona State University, Graduate Programs in Nursing has been approved by Minnesota State and the Higher Learning Commission to offer a Psychiatric-mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Baccalaureate to Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program. This 73-credit program includes graduate nursing core courses, PMHNP role courses, clinical experiences in one’s community, and a DNP clinical project. Courses are offered with the option of face-to-face classes or primarily online. Upon program completion, students are prepared to take the PMHNP certification examination. The PMHNP program was designed to meet the mental health needs of WSU’s regional area, especially for rural and underserved populations; clinicals can be arranged in students’ locality.

Student, Kathie Norkol agrees. “There is large shortage of prescribers. For example I work at a dual diagnosis center, where we address mental illness and substance abuse, with an average 3 month wait list.” Kathie continues, “from a medical perspective, I do what I can, but this program gives me better tools to diagnose and a better understanding how to treat from a medication perspective.”

The greatest need is for primary care nurse practitioners to have added expertise/certification in care of persons and families managing psychiatric problems.

“This is huge,” says fellow student Karen Lilyquist. “The program allows us a more specific scope of practice. If I have a patient that is feeling suicidal, I have full prescribing ability and can assist the patient until they are able to see a specialist.”

“We are excited to be one of the first in the state of Minnesota to offer this program to our nurse practitioners that are already serving our communities so well.” Says Jeanine Gangeness, Associate Vice President, WSU – Rochester.

A PMHNP Graduate Certificate Program (for those who already hold an advance practice RN certification, such as a Family Nurse Practitioner) continues to be offered, as well.

May is Mental Health Month. Applications are being accepted by October 1, 2018 for Fall, 2019 admission.

For additional information, contact Dr. Diane Forsyth, Professor, the Psychiatric-mental Health Graduate Education Coordinator at 507.280.5036

About WSU-Rochester

Winona State University – Rochester has been serving the Rochester community and southeast Minnesota for over 100 years. WSU-Rochester offers Bachelor completion Graduate Certificate academic programing supporting workforce needs and development. WSU-Rochester’s faculty, staff, and students are dedicated to improving the communities they live in and our alumni continue to do great things throughout the United States. For more information about WSU-Rochester, visit: