Pedestrian bridge over the Iowa river


The mission of the University of Iowa Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program is to educate nurses through didactic and clinical experiences that are needed to successfully enter practice as a PMHNP.

A nurse with a patient

Program Design

Iowa's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) curriculum is designed to provide a doctorate level education and clinical experiences that are necessary to become a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). Successful students will graduate with a DNP degree with a PMHNP specialization and be eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center Certification Exam. Iowa has both a three- and four-year BSN to DNP program. We also offer a two-year post MSN/NP to DNP program for APRNs that would like to become certified as a PMHNP while achieving a DNP; a two- or three-year post APRN to DNP; and, a 14 month (4 semester) post graduate PMHNP certificate.

A student presenting her DNP project to faculty

Benefits of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

The American Association of College of Nursing recommends the DNP as the graduate degree of choice for advanced practice nurses. Iowa's College of Nursing was one of the first institutions in the nation to receive approval for the DNP from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education in 2009.

In a landmark report, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," the Institute of Medicine recommended that "nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training; and, be full partners in redesigning health care in the United States. The DNP degree allows PMHNPs to be full partners in developing health care systems of the future while providing high quality, cost-efficient care for their patients.