The PMHNP Will See You Now

Mary Mazgaj, FNP, PMHNP April 27, 2023

You may find yourself asking what on earth is a PMHNP and what can they do for me?

PMHNP stands for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). Sounds like a mouthful, right? Well, call me Mary, and let me tell you a little bit about what a PMHNP does and how we at Carnegie Hill Psychiatry can help you. 

How do you become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner? 

A PMHNP is, first and foremost, a nurse. We train to become registered nurses and typically have extensive experience working in various settings providing compassionate direct patient care, often at the bedside. Because of our background, we’ve got a solid foundation of assessment and direct patient care skills and we know how to advocate for patients when they’re in their most vulnerable states. Becoming a nurse practitioner, however, requires a nurse to complete a graduate education program at a master's or doctorate level. Upon completion of these rigorous programs, nurses graduate as nurse practitioners and can assess, diagnose, treat, and prescribe. 

The role originated in the 60s in response to the primary care physician shortage. Nurse practitioners can offer safe, effective medical care to help fill this void. There are now several specialty tracks for nurse practitioners: family, acute care, pediatrics, gerontology, women’s health, midwifery, and of course as is the case with yours truly, psychiatric/mental health.  

What do PMHNPs do?

So what can you expect when you decide to see a PMHNP at Carnegie Hill Psychiatry? We strive to provide a warm environment conducive to thorough history-taking and the building of strong patient-provider rapport. Remember that part about us being nurses first and foremost? Well, you may see that manifest itself in the form of great listening skills, gentle questioning, kindness, maybe some levity and lightheartedness, and a strong patient advocacy foundation. 

As a PMHNP we will formulate a diagnosis based on current symptoms, past psychiatric history, past medical history, social factors, family history, and life story. We may recommend what could work best for you, be it psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, or both. We might offer psychoeducation about disease states and share our perspectives on how they could play a role in your life. 

But here’s the best part: we work as a team with you to determine the best treatment plan for your unique case. And that plan is evidence-based, comprehensive, mutually agreed upon, and always evolving with a growth mindset. When the session ends, we want you to feel empowered and trust that you’ve got a top-notch provider in your corner. 

We currently have a team of five wonderful PMHNPs at Carnegie Hill Psychiatry – and we’re ready to see you so come on in!

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