Certification Plan

A Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) is a registered nurse (RN) who has pursued a master’s degree as a nurse practitioner with a focus on psychiatric-mental health. A PMHNP is usually trained to offer holistic care to the patients to bridge the gap between mental and physical health. The scope of practice for NPs varies from one state to another. The NPs in California operate under restrictive authority, and thus they perform some duties under the supervision of a consulting physician. Some of these roles include prescribing medications and interpreting diagnostic tests. The paper comprehensively addresses the practice environment of PMHNPs in California and compares it with that of Nevada and also points out the professional issues that one needs to consider to be able to acquire certification.

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PMHNP Practice Environment for California
In California, the NPs are categorized under restrictive practice authority meaning that they can only perform some roles under the oversight of a consulting physician (Coffman et al., 2018). Some of these duties include prescribing medications and interpreting laboratory tests. The legal responsibility of the PMHNPs lies in the hands of the physicians and are thus required to determine the level of supervision, communicate regularly, and oversee the standards of care provided by the NPs (California Healthcare Foundation, 2018). The added surveillance curtails the ability of NPs to provide holistic care to the clients independently (Blore, 2018). Besides, it’s only a qualified medical doctor (MD) who can sign a death certificate and NPs are only permitted to approve handicap parking permits. The California Board of Nursing grants the authority to NPs to prescribe schedule II medication without supervision.

Comparing PMHNP Practice Environment of California with that of Nevada
Unlike California where PMNHPs work under physician’s supervision, Nevada grants full authority to the NPs in executing their duties. However, the nurses must have obtained practice license from NV Board of Nursing and American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to be granted this full authority. However, the practice environment is similar in that nurses from the two states must obtain certificates to prescribe controlled substances in the treatment of mental disorders. Following the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) of 2016, Californian NPs must obtain waivers to prescribe buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid use disorders (Johnson, 2016). Similarly, Nevada NPs must register with DEA to recommend drugs that are controlled substances (Dillon & Garry, 2017).

A Professional Issue/or a Clinical Practice Issue that a new PMHNP will need to Consider
There are various professional and clinical practice issues new PMHNPs needs to be acquainted with before they enroll in any state. They should understand that there are professional legal binding terms that determine credit transfers and relocation of students. Every state has implemented its guidelines that affect their scope of practice. For instance, California has restrictive practice authority, and learners may have different views regarding the same. Moreover, new students should comprehend the practice restrictions contained in a PMHNP program. For instance, they should be aware that possessing NP certificate doesn’t mean that they can practice in any American state.

A Checklist for Passing the National Exam
Adequate preparation is a critical component in preparing for the certification exams. It entails financial preparation, personal preparation, and course requirements. Applicants should undertake to submit complete and timely applications. The success in the application process is mostly dependent on whether one meets the minimum admission requirements. There is a link from the national exam licensure board which should be used when applying for the certification exam. The examination fees are then paid after the ideal candidate has been approved. The examination board then provides the examination timetable at their website. One should then develop a convenient study plan depending on whether he or she is a full time or part-time student. The study plan needs to be comprehensive to allow for thorough coverage of the examinable course content to meet the expectations of the board of examiners (Butts & Rich, 2013).

The NPs in California execute some duties such as prescription of drugs and interpretation of laboratory tests under the supervision of a consulting physician. California adopts PMHNP restrictive practice authority whereas Nevada uses full authority. New students need to understand the professional legal binding terms that determine credit transfers and relocation of students from one state to another. They should also have a comprehensive study plan to allow for thorough coverage of the examinable course content to meet the expectations of the board of examiners.


1. Coffman, J., Bates, T., Geyn, I., and Spetz, J. (2018). California’s current and future behavioral health workforce. Healthforce Center: University of California, San Francisco.
2. California HealthCare Foundation. (2018). California's Nurse Practitioners: How Scope of Practice Laws Impact Care.
3. Butts, J. B., and Rich, K. L. (2013). Philosophies and theories for advanced nursing practice. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
4. Blore, J. (2018). California Nurse Practitioners: The Fight for Full Practice Authority. Retrieved from https://www.nursepractitionerschools.com/blog/california-np-practice-authority
5. Dillon, D., and Gary, F. (2017). Full Practice Authority for Nurse Practitioners. Nurs Adm Q, 86-93.
6. Johnson, C. A. (2016). CARA: policy designed to prevent and effectively treat heroin addiction through multidimensional strategies. Cleveland: Cleveland State University School of Social Work.

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