Montana State University

First two graduates of MSU's Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner option plan to work in Montana

May 23, 2011 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
The first two graduates of the College of Nursing's Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner option at Montana State University graduated earlier this month and plan to stay in Montana to put their degrees to use.

"This program was designed to address the stark need in Montana for primary providers in mental health care," said Donna Williams, associate dean for research and graduate education. "We at the College of Nursing are delighted that the option has been so successful."

The option, which began in 2009 and leads to a master's degree in nursing, offers advanced psychiatric and mental health nursing education. Courses in the program are taught using Web-based distance learning technologies.

Family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners are advanced practice nurses who provide a full range of psychiatric services to individuals and families. MSU places special emphasis on preparing advanced practice nurses to deliver psychiatric mental health care to a diverse range of families and individuals living in rural communities, Williams said. The state of Montana is designated as a mental health professional shortage area.

Candidates for the program must be registered nurses. Eleven students are enrolled in the selective program, and an additional nine have been offered admittance for the fall semester.

The program is funded in part by a three-year, $814,021 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For more information about the Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program at MSU, visit, call 994-3783 or email

Kay LaFrance, (406) 994-3784 or