Montana State University

MSU receives $800,000 grant to train mental health nurse practitioners

July 22, 2009 -- MSU News Service

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Montana State University's College of Nursing has received a three-year, $814,021 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to prepare nurses to be family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners.

The new distance-based graduate option has been developed to shore up a shortage of primary mental health care providers across Montana, according to Patricia Holkup, who directs the program.

"The faculty at the College of Nursing are delighted to have this opportunity to address the stark need in Montana for primary providers in mental health care," Holkup said. "The development of the new option within the state-supported Master of Nursing graduate degree program represents a collaborative effort between state-wide mental health representatives and faculty from the MSU College of Nursing."

Family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who provide a full range of psychiatric services to individuals and families, Holkup said. Special emphasis will be placed on preparing advanced practice nurses to deliver psychiatric mental health care to a diverse range of families and individuals living in rural communities. Most of the state has been designated as a mental health professional shortage area, Holkup added.

The curriculum will take five semesters to complete, and six nurses will begin taking core classes this fall semester. The graduate nursing courses will be taught using Web-based distance learning technologies. Supervised clinical rotations will be completed in the students' home communities whenever possible.

In addition, a post-master's certificate will be offered.

Nurses interested in learning more about the option should visit the College of Nursing's Web site at http://www.montana.edu/nursing/academic/mn.htm or contact Lynn Taylor, the graduate program's administrative assistant, at lynnt@montana.edu or (406) 994-3500.

Applications for admission for the fall of 2010 are due Feb. 15, 2010.

Patricia Holkup, (406) 243-2543 or pholkup@montana.edu