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Tag Archives: PMHNP Benefits

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) make for exceptional members and leaders of care teams. Generally speaking, PMHNPs not only have very diverse educational backgrounds, but they undergo a variety of trainings and are experts in delivering effective behavioral health care.  

I’ve seen the impact PMHNPs can make for healthcare organizations first-hand across my 20-year career as a PMHNP and from my experience serving as Iris Telehealth’s Lead Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Over those years, here are the best practices I’ve seen for how organizations can effectively leverage PMHNPs and some of the specific benefits their communities experience when they lean into PMHNPs.  

How organizations can leverage PMHNPs for their behavioral health programs 

At Iris, we work with organizations all across the country to support the various needs of their patients.  

Here are some of the primary ways our partners leverage PMHNPs for behavioral health services:  

  • Telepsychiatry: Organizations in rural communities or those experiencing the effects of the provider shortage have found great success in leveraging PMHNPs via telepsychiatry. While PMHNPs tend to live on the East Coast, telepsychiatry makes their services widely available.  
  • Crisis intervention: PMHNPs are excellent at deescalating volatile situations. Once a situation is handled and the patient is triaged to an inpatient psychiatric unit, we provide follow-up care and execute quality improvement initiatives. We are excellent at keeping up with data and showing where our helps and enhances the overall effectiveness of our outcomes.  
  • Patient advocacy: Another area where PMHNPs excel is communication. Many of our patients feel PMHNPs can speak at their level. We’re nurses first and understand the importance of bedside manner. We carry that into our treatment, and patients feel they can communicate effectively with us.  
  • Medication management: A lot of organizations utilize PMHNPs for medication management because they have therapists who conduct therapy. While we always end up doing a bit of therapy, the largest part of our job is talking to patients, seeing what their symptoms are, and determining if medication is appropriate for them. We then write a prescription and follow-up every one to three months according to how well they’re doing and adjust as needed.  

The role PMHNPs play in reducing mental health stigma  

In independent practice states, our skills can be leveraged for leadership roles or providing community outreach, whether that’s teaching people about mental health stigma or helping them learn about their conditions before they escalate into something more severe.   

For example, if a patient is worried about what people think about them getting treatment for their behavioral health condition, it might keep them from getting help. However, if an organization is leveraging a PMHNP for treatment, the PMHNP can explain how treating a behavioral health condition is just the same as treating diabetes or hypertension.  

Everyone wants someone to talk to and there’s nothing wrong with that. When you remove the stigma, people get in earlier, and they’re less likely to escalate to a higher severity and can stay more stabilized throughout their life span.  

The advantages of hiring a PMHNP 

Part of our job is reaching out and communicating with primary care doctors because we often share patients. It’s important for us to let them know the patients we treat, so if they have anyone who needs behavioral health support, they can send them our way. This communication enables the best care for the patient.  

That said, we are very integrated into the organization we serve, building relationships in the community and with the on-site team. This approach helps create the best experience possible for the patient and builds continuity of care.  

On the other hand, if an organization is working with a Locums, someone who is in and out, behavioral health patients don’t tend to respond well. People don’t like to tell their stories over and over and they don’t feel comfortable knowing that someone is only going to be there for a short time.  

However, they respond very well know that their PMHNP is “their person” and they can trust them because they’re a part of the team. By being integrated into the clinic, we become one of the employees there and we’re not going anywhere.  

Why bedside manner and communication is a PMHNP’s superpower  

People may not realize all the different aspects of what a PMHNP can provide. Nurse practitioners can do research, outreach, crisis intervention, and medication management. They can also work in both inpatient and outpatient settings and do step down roles. There are an endless number of jobs a nurse practitioner can do.  

I would say our superpower, though, is our bedside manner. We meet people where they are. Whenever you meet a patient, you have to figure out how they communicate. Some people walk in and they’re joking – they want someone to be lighthearted, so they’re comfortable. But they also want you to be serious and provide medication management. However, if you’re really serious and to the point, they’re not going to trust you.  

It’s important to learn about your patients and figure out what’s important to them. If someone mentions their family, it’s important to follow up with them the next time you see them. Ask how they’re doing. These are all important aspects of building a good relationship.  

Building your team of PMHNPs at Iris  

Over my 20 years as a PMHNP, I can say that at Iris, we have a wonderful set of nurse practitioners. We strive to have the highest quality providers around and we do a great job of finding the best of the best.  

If you’d like to learn more about PMHNPs and the benefits they can bring to your organization, feel free to contact us today and see how we can find the best provider fit for your community.   

You can also learn more about how PMHNPs can benefit your organization here.  

Tag Archives: PMHNP Benefits

Over the past few years, the number of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (PMHNPs) has been steadily increasing — passing the 12,000 mark in 2016.

In many states, PMHNPs can evaluate, diagnose, and prescribe medication to patients — just like their psychiatric counterparts. That means organizations can incorporate PMHNPs into their overarching strategies to help address provider shortages, meet patient needs, and decrease wait times.

Healthcare organizations looking to expand access to behavioral health services may be wondering which provider type is best for their community. Here is all the information needed to make an informed decision about hiring a PMHNP.

PMHNPs are highly-trained psychiatric care providers who can provide comparable treatment to psychiatrists

Due to the nationwide provider shortage, finding psychiatrists for your care team might not be an option. Thankfully, PMHNPs are just as equipped to provide the high-quality care patients need. While PMHNPs and psychiatrists have different training and education requirements, the treatment they can provide is very similar.

  • PMHNPs and psychiatrists have graduate-level education. PMHNPs are required to have either a Master’s or Doctorate in nursing to sit for the PMHNP certification exam.
  • Once a PMHNP is certified, they can practice across the patient lifespan. This ability means they can treat children, adolescents, adults, and geriatric populations.
  • Psychiatrists can also treat patients across their lifespan. However, PMHNPs often opt to undergo further fellowship training that equips them to treat specialized patient populations.
  • Both PMHNPs and psychiatrists are eligible to earn an X-waiver, which allows them to prescribe buprenorphine to treat patients with substance use disorders.

PMHNPs receive training around holistic care — which makes them a good provider fit for CMHCs and FQHCs

PMHNPs can significantly benefit your organization, especially if you serve patients from vulnerable populations, like Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs).

Recent studies have found that the quality of PMHNP care is similar or equal to that of psychiatrists. Additionally, much of the training they receive works well for the kinds of patient populations CMHCs and FQHCs often see.

Like psychiatrists, all PMHNPs receive training around assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients with mental health needs. However, PMHNPs also focus on holistic care, and they have skills and experience in treating the whole patient.

Their specialized training includes:

  • Psychotherapy and behavioral health conditions: PMHNPs receive extensive training in psychotherapy and can effectively treat common behavioral health conditions, including mood disorders, anxiety, substance use, depression, ADHD, and schizophrenia.
  • Crisis intervention and directing patient care planning: PMNHPs have experience in crisis intervention and can utilize de-escalation techniques to support patients who enter your health center in a state of distress. PMHNPs are also skilled at care coordination and can help provide consultations and referrals to psychiatrists and other specialists if a patient’s case requires it.
  • Collaborative care: PMHNPs are trained to work in collaborative care teams, where they may work with psychiatrists, social workers, community managers, or nurses to find a care plan that can treat a specific patient’s needs effectively.
  • Effective communication with patient families: PMHNPs are equipped to interact with patient families or caregivers — particularly when treating young patients or patients from vulnerable populations.

If these skills and experiences would benefit your organization, a PMHNP may be a good fit for you.

If you’re considering hiring a PMHNP, make sure you understand your state’s regulations

Unlike psychiatrists, PMHNPs are subject to state regulations that dictate the kind of care they can provide. For example, a PMHNP in Texas could see patients and provide assessment and diagnosis. However, they would not be able to prescribe without having an established Prescriptive Authority Agreement in place with a physician. However, in Oregon, a PMHNP can prescribe medication without a physician’s collaboration and can even practice independently.

States fall into three regulatory categories:

  1. Full practice: In full practice states, PMHNPs can evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients by prescribing medications without consulting with a physician. In these states, PMHNPs can also set up independent practices. There are currently 23 full practice states across the country.
  2. Reduced practice: Reduced practice states limit PMHNPs’ ability to practice fully and independently. Often, PMHNPs will be required to hold a collaborative agreement with a psychiatrist in order to provide full patient care and prescribe medications to treat their patients.
  3. Restricted practice: In restricted practice states, PMHNPs must work directly with a psychiatrist or other healthcare provider and cannot prescribe medications to patients without that psychiatrist’s supervision. There are currently 12 restricted practice states in the U.S.

When considering which provider type to hire, you should research what kinds of regulations exist in your state. If you live in a restrictive state, plan to have consulting psychiatrists available to prescribe medication in collaboration with your PMHNP. Telehealth can offer a better solution to connect patients with care while working in their scope of practice, regardless of where nurse practitioners practice.

Hiring PMHNPs can be a challenging task, so consider the recruitment resources available

If you’ve decided PMHNPs are a good fit for your organization, there are several recruitment options and partners you can consider:

Nurse practitioner associations: If you’re looking for a local PMHNP, you can research nurse practitioner associations at the regional and state level. These associations often have job boards where you can post potential openings and get your position in front of qualified candidates.

Local universities: Universities with nursing programs will often also have job boards and can be beneficial partners when looking for a PMHNP in your area.

Telepsychiatry: Telepsychiatry partners like Iris Telehealth can be valuable resources to help your organization source and vet potential PMHNPs utilizing telehealth before adding them to your team. Using a service like this will give you access to PMHNPs at a national level, opening up a network of qualified providers and helping to get them licensed in your state.

Provider matching: Finding the right provider for your organization is key to the success of your patients and your care team. That’s why at Iris, we help organizations find a provider who meets their organization’s needs and aligns with their team’s culture and values. This process, called provider matching, helps bring stability to organizations, providers, and the patients they serve.

Your decision to use a PMHNP should be all about your patients

Because psychiatrists’ availability is limited across the country, particularly in rural communities, it’s essential to consider how your organization can best serve your patient populations and provide high-quality care.

PMHNPs bring valuable experience dealing with sick patients and vulnerable populations, which can be a major benefit to your organization. This is particularly true for CMHCs and FQHCs, who often see a high volume of patients from vulnerable populations.

PMHNPs are also incredibly passionate about their work. In an interview with one of our own PMHNPs, Dale McQueeney, she says that one of the most rewarding parts of her job is seeing patients reduce use or achieve and maintain abstinence from substances.

Most importantly, PMHNPs can serve as key behavioral health providers. They can extend access to your services, meet patient needs, decrease wait times, and become long-term, collaborative team members.

To learn more about how Iris Telehealth can help you source PMHNPs for telehealth, contact us, and we’ll help you get started.

Tag Archives: PMHNP Benefits

Nurse practitioner practice authority varies by state. This variation defines whether or not nurse practitioners (NPs) can utilize the full extent of their education. For NPs, they follow guidelines around how they can see patients, whether or not they need a collaborative physician, and what controlled substances they can prescribe with or without the need for co-signatures. Whether your organization needs help addressing the provider shortage or decreasing wait times, an NP can help.

According to the AANP, nurse practitioners’ practice authority varies depending on what state they choose to practice in. The three types of state practice environments are:

  • Full practice (independent)
  • Reduced practice (partially independent)
  • Restricted practice (non-independent)

In restricted practice states like Texas, NPs must work under another health provider’s supervision to practice. Reduced practice states like New York allow NPs to be in a collaborative agreement with another health provider to facilitate patient care. They also have one or more limits on NP practice. Full practice states like Arizona allow NPs to practice independently, evaluate, and provide care to patients without a collaborating physician or agreement.

As of right now, there are 29 NP full practice authority states, 16 reduced practice states, and 11 restricted practice states.

Finding the right fit

While NPs are essential to addressing the provider shortage and improving patient experience, they’re also indispensable when it comes to mental health treatment. The type of NP working in the mental health field is called a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner or a PMHNP. These providers work in correctional settings, residential treatment centers, inpatient hospitals, health systems, and private practices. However, the majority of PMHNPs are practicing in underserved and rural areas.

PMHNPs can be a major benefit to your organization, especially if your organization serves patients from vulnerable populations, like Community Mental Health Centers (CMHCs), Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHCs) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). PMHNPs are skilled at caring for patients, and their quality level is similar or equal to a psychiatrists. Not only can they provide a similar quality of care as a psychiatrist, but they are also skilled at facilitating holistic care, which overall contributes to the level of quality care and treatment they can provide.

PMHNPs receive specific training in various types of treatment they provide like:

  • Extensive training in psychotherapy and behavioral health conditions
  • Crisis intervention and directing patient care planning
  • Collaborative care
  • Effective communication with patient families

If your organization is looking to provide these skills and treatments, PMHNPs might be a valuable asset for your organization.

Challenges and opportunities you might face

Across the country, healthcare organizations are facing a provider shortage. According to USAFacts, as of March 2021, 37% of the U.S. population lived in 5,833 mental health professional shortage areas. Providing cost-effective but high-quality care can be difficult in these regions, but in full authority NP states, the providers can serve as a primary care provider.

In restricted and reduced practice states, PMHNPs cannot practice without a collaborating physician. During the provider shortage, it is especially challenging to find a collaborating physician. These agreements have to be renewed annually, and they have to meet with the physician they are collaborating with on a monthly basis. This specific agreement can cause issues for rural areas where there may not be a physician locally available, or there may be a shortage of physicians who would be able to work collaboratively with a nurse practitioner. In some extenuating circumstances, if the collaborating physician becomes ill or retires, patients cannot be seen, and you might have to cancel the appointment.

By utilizing telepsychiatry, you can find the best-qualified PMHNP for your organization’s needs, especially during a provider shortage when you cannot find a PMHNP locally. Telehealth can extend healthcare delivery to underserved populations and rural areas. With the help of a PMHNP, it can be easier to meet that need by partnering with telehealth organizations like Iris Telehealth. Telepsychiatry solutions can help healthcare organizations overcome access issues and help alleviate the pressure of finding a qualified provider locally. For example, a PMHNP living in Texas can meet the licensure requirements in Utah, making it possible to extend healthcare delivery through telepsychiatry.

Telepsychiatry that meets you where you are

Regardless of where nurse practitioners practice, they can utilize telehealth to connect their patients with specialty care while working in their scope of practice. Telepsychiatry can open up your search by hiring a PMHNP from across the country instead of searching locally, especially since there is a high saturation of providers on the East Coast and a higher need on the West Coast.

If you decide to hire a PMHNP for your organization, you can ease some of the administrative burdens, like licensing, credentialing, and obtaining a collaborative agreement.

How Iris Telehealth can help

Iris Telehealth serves as a resource for providers who need support and can help your organization source and vet potential PMNHPs. If you’re looking to develop a formal telepsychiatry program to provide high-quality care for your patients, Iris can help you through the process.

If you would like to learn more about how telepsychiatry can help supplement your behavioral health team, contact us today.