Program Highlights

  • Earn your degree in as little as 32 months at the accelerated program pace
  • Proceed from BSN classes to MSN classes in one streamlined curriculum
  • Gain hands-on practice through two on-site intensive weekends
  • 590 precepted clinical hours for real-world experience
  • Exposure to topics in telehealth, special populations, and upcoming trends in psychiatry
  • Flexible online classes with on-the-go resources and mobile-friendly content
  • Access to comprehensive Career Services support after graduation
  • Competitive tuition with financial aid and scholarships available for those who qualify

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At West Coast University, we embrace a student-centric learning partnership that leads to professional success. We deliver transformational education within a culture of integrity and personal accountability. We design market-responsive programs through collaboration between faculty and industry professionals.

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RN-MSN - Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner


As a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) you open the door to specialized nursing roles where you work directly with mental health patients. For many nurses, this is a way to make a difference where they are needed.

A Need for Mental Health Professionals

Did you know nearly one in five U.S. adults lives with a mental illness?2

As a PMHNP, you will not only be poised to help educate the community and eliminate the stigmas around mental illness, but you will be able to take on roles where you can directly work with the most at-risk individuals. Here are just some of the reasons why your community needs mental health professionals:

  • According to the World Health Organization, there was a 13% increase in mental health conditions worldwide in the last decade (to 2017)3
  • The CDC stated that from August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of an anxiety or depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%4
  • During the same period, the percentage of those reporting an unmet mental health care need increased from 9.2% to 11.7%4

If this is an area where you want to make a difference, studying to become a PMHNP is the first step towards working with mental health and psychiatric patients, including those struggling with depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other disorders.

Our RN to MSN program allows you to proceed from bachelor level courses to specialized master’s classes, all in one streamlined curriculum. Gain the skills you need to work in advanced nurse practitioner roles.

Where Do PMHNPs Work? 

Nurse practitioners, including PMHNPs, can work in a variety of healthcare facilities, including:

  • Offices of physicians
  • Hospitals (state, local, and private)
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Educational services
  • Offices of other health practitioners1

As a PMHNP, you can find the work environment that matches your skills and abilities.

1 Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,

National Institute of Mental Health,

3 World Health Organization,

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms of Anxiety or Depressive Disorder and Use of Mental Health Care Among Adults During the COVID-19 Pandemic – United States, August 2020 – February 2021. 

  • Proceed from bachelor’s to master’s – Complete bachelor’s courses and advance straight to specialized master’s classes with no lag in between. The curriculum is designed to be a sequence building on your current RN experience.
  • Online flexibility for working nurses – Our RN to MSN program is made for registered nurses. While you will have due dates to keep you on track, watch lectures and complete coursework when and where it’s convenient for you.
  • Fast decisions – Once you have provided all necessary application materials, the decision for acceptance will be provided no later than 5 days after the documentation is submitted.
  • Academic transcript support – If you need help obtaining your transcripts from your associate degree or diploma, talk to your admissions advisor. WCU might be able to request your transcripts on your behalf.
  • Hands-on learning – Complete two on-site intensives (OSIs) taking place on-campus. You’ll also gain experience through 590 precepted clinical hours at one of our clinical partner locations.
  • Individualized support – As a WCU student, you have access to no-cost tutoring and your professors are only a call or text away through the Remind app.
  • Student Success advisor – From your first day of class, you will be paired with a Student Success advisor who can help you find the right tools and resources. At WCU, you are never alone.
  • Relevant curriculum – Our curriculum is aligned with the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF)

Why Do Students Choose WCU for their RN to MSN? 

  • Choose a pace that works for you with Accelerated and Working Professional options
  • Earn your degree in as little as 32 months at the accelerated program pace
  • Get hands-on practice through two on-site intensives delivered on campus*
  • Prepare to work with both adults and children with our lifespan approach
  • Engage with faculty members who are experienced nursing professionals, active in relevant clinical practice, and nationally board-certified
  • Get support from our clinical relations coordinators
  • Be matched with a PMHNP faculty mentor
  • Upon completing the program, students will be eligible to sit for the national board certification
  • 24-hour access to library and courses

Support for Students Beyond Graduation

West Coast University supports its students beyond the last day of classes. We are committed to helping our graduates throughout their careers.

Our Career Services Department provides ongoing assistance with professional and career development through workshops and guidance for our online RN to MSN students and graduates. We partner with industry professionals to enhance our students’ prospects for securing employment and achieving professional success.

WCU provides career guidance and assistance but cannot guarantee employment.

*Students enrolled through the Orange County campus must complete their OSI’s in California. Students enrolled through the Texas campus must complete them in Texas. Travel costs are not included in tuition and fees, and students are responsible for arranging transportation.


Upon graduation, RN to MSN students will:

  • Integrate the various sciences from nursing and such other fields as physiology, statistics, psychosocial, political, financial, genetics, public health and the organizations sciences in the continued improvement of nursing across the continuum of various healthcare settings.
  • Provide leadership in a variety of settings that promote high quality, safe patient care that also incorporates ethical decision making and effective inter-professional working relationships.
  • Demonstrate the skills needed to effect quality improvement that incorporates the various models, standards and performance measures necessary to apply quality principles, within any type of organization.
  • Apply evidence-based research in clinical practice by identifying actual or potential practice problems in a setting and resolving them through the role of change agent.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in computer skills both technical and in the application of informatics to enhance, deliver, communicate and integrate and coordinate patient care.
  • Recognize the need for and ability to affect policy changes by using the policy development process and advocacy strategies to influence health and healthcare systems.
  • Communicate and coordinate inter-professionally in a variety of settings to manage and coordinate care.
  • Identify and integrate the various evidence-based practices of health promotion and disease prevention using client centered, culturally and age-appropriate concepts in the nursing process of services to individuals, families and broad based aggregate populations.
  • Demonstrate an advanced level of scientific and nursing-specific knowledge with the ability to integrate that knowledge into nursing practice that influences health care outcomes for individual, families, populations and/or systems.

WCU Distance education programs are delivered out of the Orange County and Texas campuses and may not be available to residents in all states.

Practice Experience is required in order to graduate from the RN to BSN, RN to MSN, MSN, DNP degrees and Post-Master’s certificate programs.

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