Salve Regina
photo credit: Salve Regina

Salve Regina offers new online master’s degree to help address shortage of mental health practitioners

Salve Regina University is enhancing its online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree program by introducing a new specialization in psychiatric mental health. This comprehensive educational pathway aims to prepare students for national certification. Additionally, a post-master’s certificate for advanced practice nurses seeking to expand their expertise in psychiatric nursing is now available. Courses for both programs will begin this fall.

The Health Resources Services Administration reported in 2023 that half of the U.S. population lives in a Mental Health Professional Shortage Area, highlighting the critical need for more mental health practitioners.

“There are significant barriers to receiving mental health care today, resulting in lengthy wait times before a person can get care,” said Dr. Sharon Stager, Salve’s associate chair of graduate nursing programs. “Insurance companies require certification of health care providers for the provision of services and reimbursement, so this program is vitally important to serve the community and enhance patient care outcomes.”

The online format of Salve Regina’s new specialization addresses the needs of adult learners who often juggle significant family and career responsibilities. With rolling admissions and six start dates per year, students can begin the program quickly, avoiding the delays associated with traditional semester cycles.

The eight-course certificate program can be completed online in 20-24 months, while the 15-course master’s program can be finished in 32 months. Both programs include one 40-hour skills-based colloquium on Salve Regina’s campus. After completing the coursework and a minimum of 750 clinical hours, students are eligible to sit for the psychiatric nurse practitioner national certification examination. Graduates are also eligible to progress seamlessly into Salve’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

Dr. Stager emphasized the institution’s mission, saying, “As a Mercy mission-driven institution, we are deeply aligned with the need to support anyone going through a mental health crisis. Launching these programs aligns beautifully with Salve’s graduate nursing focus at this moment in time.”

For more information, visit Salve Regina University’s Graduate and Professional Studies page.




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