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Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP-BC) in Tennessee

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners (PMHNP-BC) in Tennessee

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What is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC)?

A board-certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) is a registered nurse with advanced clinical training and education in psychiatric and mental health care. They are licensed to provide specialized mental health care to patients across the lifespan, including children, adolescents, adults, and older adults.

PMHNPs work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, community mental health centers, and private practices. They collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as psychologists, social workers, and physicians, to care for their patients.

The educational and training requirements for becoming a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee are similar to those in other states. Here are the general steps required to become a PMHNP-BC in Tennessee:

  • Earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited nursing program.
  • Obtain an active registered nurse (RN) license in Tennessee.
  • Gain nursing experience, preferably in psychiatric and mental health nursing. The exact amount of experience required varies by program. Still, most PMHNP programs require at least one year of clinical experience.
  • Obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in psychiatric and mental health nursing from a program accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).1,2
  • Complete a minimum of 500 supervised clinical hours in psychiatric and mental health care.
  • Pass the national certification exam administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to become a Board Certified Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC).3
  • Apply for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) licensure in Tennessee.4

Once licensed, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners can provide various mental health services, including individual, group, and family therapy, medication management, conducting mental health assessments, and other interventions to help individuals experiencing psychiatric or mental health disorders. They can also prescribe medications alongside a physician’s supervision, provide psychoeducation, and provide ongoing care to patients and their families.

Insurance may be able to help cover the cost of therapy. Find out if your insurance can help with the costs by calling your insurance provider or by contacting us below. One of our care coordinators can help you navigate your insurance coverage and get the care you need.

What to Expect When You Talk to a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner?

A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee will provide a safe, non-judgmental, supportive environment. They’ll listen to your concerns, provide guidance, and help you make informed decisions about your mental health care. With their specialized training in mental health, a PMHNP can offer a high level of evidence-based care and support for a wide range of mental health issues.

Here’s a general overview of what you can expect when you talk to a PMHNP:

  • Assessment: The PMHNP will start by asking about your symptoms, medical history, and any medications or supplements you are taking. They may also ask about your family history of mental illness and any environmental or social factors impacting your mental health.
  • Diagnosis: Based on your information, the PMHNP will work with you to determine a diagnosis or assess whether you need further testing or referrals to other mental health specialists.
  • Treatment Plan: After the PMHNP has comprehensively assessed your symptoms and made a diagnosis, they will collaborate with you to create a customized treatment plan. This plan may incorporate therapy, medication supervision, lifestyle modifications, or a blend of these methods.
  • Medication Management: If the PMHNP recommends medication, they will prescribe it and monitor its effectiveness and side effects. Additionally, they will educate you on how to take the medication correctly.
  • Follow-Up: After your initial visit, the PMHNP will schedule follow-up appointments to track your progress, monitor any side effects or complications, and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Signs a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is Right for You

Choosing the right mental health provider is an important decision that can significantly impact your overall mental well-being. When developing a treatment plan, it’s essential to consider all aspects of your health. If you value an integrated approach to care, a PMHNP may be the right choice for you.

These healthcare providers work closely with other professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and primary care physicians, to provide comprehensive patient care. With a collaborative approach to care, you can have a team of professionals that promote mental health needs.

Accessibility and availability are also important factors when choosing a mental health provider. PMHNPs work in various healthcare settings and are often more accessible than other providers. This can be beneficial if you require regular or ongoing care.

Finally, a PMHNP may be the right choice for you if you prefer a patient-centered approach to care. When developing a treatment plan, these providers consider your preferences, values, and goals. So, if you want a mental health provider who takes the time to understand your unique needs and tailors the treatment accordingly, a PMHNP may be the perfect fit for you.

A Psych Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee specializes in diagnosing, treating, and managing mental health problems. They are licensed advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs). Here are some examples of mental health issues that PMHNPs can assist with:

  • Anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias
  • Depressive disorders, including major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), hoarding disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder
  • Trauma- and stressor-related disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder, and adjustment disorders
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and delusional disorder
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and intellectual disability
  • Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder
  • Personality disorders, including borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder
  • Sleep-wake disorders, including insomnia, hypersomnia, and circadian rhythm disorders

While a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner can provide excellent care for many mental health conditions, they may not always be the right choice for every individual. Here are some situations where a PMHNP may not be the best fit:

  • You require more specialized care: PMHNPs are highly trained in mental health care but may not have the same level of specialization as other mental health providers. Therefore, if you have a complex or rare mental health condition or need specialized treatment, you may need to see a psychiatrist or other mental health specialist.
  • You prefer a non-medication approach to care: While PMHNPs can provide medication management and therapy, their training focuses on medication management. If you prefer a non-medication approach to care, such as psychotherapy or alternative treatments, a PMHNP may not be the right choice for you.
  • You have a history of substance abuse: If you have a history of substance abuse or are currently struggling with substance abuse, a PMHNP may not be the best choice for you. While PMHNPs can help treat mental health conditions that co-occur with substance abuse or addiction, they may not be the best choice for treating them. Instead, you may need to seek the services of a substance abuse treatment center or addiction specialist.
  • You need a higher level of care: If you are experiencing severe symptoms or are in crisis, you may need a higher level of care than a PMHNP can provide. In this case, you may need to seek care in an emergency room, psychiatric hospital, or other intensive treatment program.
  • You prefer a different type of mental health provider: Everyone has unique needs and preferences regarding mental health care. If you prefer a different kind of mental health provider, such as a psychologist, counselor, or social worker, you may want to seek care from them instead.

How Much Does Therapy with a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Cost in Tennessee?

The cost of therapy sessions with a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee can vary according to several factors, including the location, the therapist’s experience level, and the type of therapy provided. However, the average cost of speaking with licensed mental health therapists in Tennessee can range from $60 to $120 an hour, averaging about $90.5

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all health insurance plans sold on the Marketplace must cover mental health and substance abuse services as essential health benefits.6 This means insurance plans sold on the Marketplace must cover the cost of speaking with a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and other mental health services.

Many health insurance plans cover the cost of speaking with a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for mental health services. However, the coverage specifics will depend on your particular policy, so verifying your insurance benefits is important to see what mental health services are covered and what out-of-pocket costs you might be responsible for.

Athena Care is in-network with most major insurance plans with multiple mental health clinics in Tennessee. Allow one of our expert care coordinators to contact your insurance provider for more information on your specific benefits. They’ll review your policy and thoroughly explain your options for therapy with a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee. Call (615) 320-1155 to start today or complete our no-obligation and confidential online form.

How to Choose the Best Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Therapist in Tennessee

Choosing the best Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee can be challenging. There are several factors to consider to ensure you find the right fit. The most critical factor in choosing a PMHNP is finding someone you feel comfortable working with and who has the expertise to help you with your mental health needs.

Think about the specific mental health issues you are struggling with and what type of therapy might be most effective. For example, if you are battling depression, it may be helpful to look for a PMHNP who specializes in treating depression.

Once you have identified potential therapists, you must check their credentials to ensure they are licensed and certified in Tennessee. You can verify their credentials through the Tennessee Board of Nursing or the American Nurses Credentialing Center. You can also read reviews online.7 This can also provide valuable insight into the quality of their services. Read positive and negative reviews to get a balanced view of their capabilities.

Another way to find a good Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Tennessee is to ask for referrals from your primary care physician, mental health provider, or friends and family. They may be able to recommend someone effective in treating similar mental health issues.

Lastly, consider accessibility when choosing a PMHNP therapist. Look for someone who is in a convenient location for you and has availability that works with your schedule. Considering these factors, you can find a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner who can provide the support and treatment you need to improve your mental health.

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners vs. Psychiatrists: What’s the Difference?

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and Psychiatrists are healthcare providers who focus on treating mental health conditions. However, there are distinct differences between these two professions:8

Registered nurses who have completed additional education and training to become advanced practice nurses focusing on mental health. They typically have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.Medical doctors who have completed medical school, residency training in psychiatry, and earned their Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree
Trained to provide psychotherapy and medication management for mental health disorders, but may not have the exact scope of practice as psychiatrists. In Tennessee, nurse practitioners are allowed to prescribe medications with physician supervision.9Trained to diagnose and treat mental health disorders using a variety of treatments, including therapy and medication management. They can also prescribe medication and order diagnostic tests, such as blood tests or brain scans.
Takes a more holistic approach, considering the patient’s physical, emotional, and social factors that may be contributing to their mental health disorderFocuses more on the medical aspects of mental health disorders, such as the underlying biological and neurological factors
Lower hourly rates for therapy sessionsHigher hourly rates due to more education and training
Greater availability and accessibilityA shortage of psychiatrists may make them less accessible and flexible10


  1. “CCNE Accreditation.” American Association of Colleges of Nursing, www.aacnnursing.org/ccne-accreditation. Accessed 8 May 2023.
  2. “Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing – the Leading Authority for Nursing Education Accreditation.” Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, www.acenursing.org. Accessed 8 May 2023.
  3. “Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Across the Lifespan) Certification (PMHNP-BC) | ANCC.” ANA, 1 Jan. 1980, www.nursingworld.org/our-certifications/psychiatric-mental-health-nurse-practitioner.
  4. “Applications.” Tn.gov, www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-professional-boards/nursing-board/nursing-board/applications.html. Accessed 8 May 2023.
  5. “How Much Does Therapy Cost?” Thervo, Oct. 2022, thervo.com/costs/how-much-does-therapy-cost.
  6. Anderson, Steve. “What Is the Affordable Care Act (ACA)? | healthinsurance.org.” healthinsurance.org, 13 Mar. 2023, www.healthinsurance.org/glossary/affordable-care-act.
  7. Board of Nursing: About.” Tn.gov, www.tn.gov/health/health-program-areas/health-professional-boards/nursing-board/nursing-board/about.html. Accessed 8 May 2023.
  8. “How to Become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP).” CORP-MSN0 (NLM), 9 Nov. 2022, nursinglicensemap.com/advanced-practice-nursing/nurse-practitioner/psychiatric-and-mental-health-nurse-practitioner-pmhnp.
  9. “2021 Tennessee Code :: Title 63 – Professions of the Healing Arts :: Chapter 7 – Nursing :: Part 1 – General Provisions :: &Sect; 63-7-123. Certified Nurse Practitioners — Drug Prescriptions — Temporary Certificate — Rules and Regulations.” Justia Law, law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2021/title-63/chapter-7/part-1/section-63-7-123.
  10. Weiner, Stacy. “A Growing Psychiatrist Shortage and an Enormous Demand for Mental Health Services.” AAMC, 9 Aug. 2022, www.aamc.org/news/growing-psychiatrist-shortage-enormous-demand-mental-health-services.

If you suspect that you or someone you love suffers from mental health disorders, contact Athena Care today.

One of our friendly associates will help you get the help you need. Take this first step to feel better and take control. 

(615) 320-1155