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Western Governors Association launches psychiatric nursing master’s program


Western Governors University announced that its College of Health Professions has launched a Master of Science in Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. The new degree program is aimed at addressing the nationwide shortage of qualified mental health care providers, the fully online, nonprofit university said in a release. Iowa is among 39 states in which WGU will offer the program. “Rightfully, the role of psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners is expanding as greater access to mental health care is created, and the stigma of seeking that care subsides,” said Jan Jones-Schenk, executive dean and senior vice president of WGU’s College of Health Professions. “We are creating new pathways for nurses to advance their careers into this exciting area of clinical practice and meet a tremendous need in our nation.” In October 2020, WGU entered into a partnership with Des Moines Area Community College that allows DMACC students who have completed their associate degree to seamlessly transfer their credits to WGU to earn a four-year degree. Health professions, including nursing, are part of that agreement. According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 2.9% of the 192,000 credentialed nurse practitioners in the U.S. work in the psychiatric/mental health specialty area. But studies have shown that up to 96% of counties in the U.S. have unmet needs for mental health professions, with the most pronounced shortage being in rural areas. Insider: Read more about WGU in a Business Record article featuring an interview with the university’s Midwest regional vice president, Angie Besendorfer. 

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