Behavioral mental illness in the United States increased by 2.9 million cases between 1997 and 2012. Many of these disorders are identified mid- to late adolescence, but left untreated, resulting in lifetime symptoms. The absence of childhood onset alone does not preclude a behavioral mental disorder: 50% of all US adults suffer from at least one mental illness in their lifetime with many adults (45%) suffering two or more disorders, increasing risk of physical diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, obesity, and asthma.
Colorado borders the western edge of the Great Plains and spans a land mass of nearly 250,000 square miles. While 85% of the U.S. population lives within an hour’s drive of a Level I/II emergency room, only 24% of all Western US rural residents live within this driving distance (SAMHSA, 2013). Although Colorado ranks sixth for adolescent suicide—close to 17% of adolescent Coloradans 13 to 18 yearsofage report having contemplated suicide within the last year—Colorado reports only 234 advanced practice psychiatric nurses available tohelp solve these issues.
The graduate programs at UCD are designed for advanced practice nursing roles. Graduates from the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program are eligible to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Certificate. The curriculum was refocused to meet the 2013 NONPF requirements and SAMSHA integrated care competencies and it was approved by faculty as part of the CCNE agreed quality program improvement on July 27, 2015. The curriculum includes integrated behavioral health, open to interprofessional students (NURS 6664), merged psychotherapy and behavioral changes for health promotion (NURS 6555) and enhanced assessment, and neurobiology and psychopharmacology content (NURS 6659). The program also added 1 credit to the previous curriculum to enhance emphasis on integrated behavioral health care and cultural sensitivity. The curriculum consists of an MSN core (13 credits), an advanced practice NP core (10 credits), a didactic psychiatric specialty core (13 credits), and a specialty clinical practicum (14 credits), totaling 50 academic credits. Didactic content also includes 3 credits of integrated behavioral health care open to interprofessional enrollment (NURS 6664) and focuses on the use of merged psychotherapy and behavioral changes for health promotion (NURS 6555).
The curriculum provides students with 14 credits (630 hours) of clinical experiences (Attachment 5), more than the 500 hours required by CCNE, NONPF, NTF and ANCC. Two different mechanisms are used to interact throughout the program. First, students and preceptors are offered the use of a social media based learning system. Contact between preceptors and students is also maintained using Vidyo, a videoconferencing platform which is currently being used by many of the local health care agencies for telehealth delivery. Given the vast distances associated with the population in rural Colorado this use of videoconferencing is used to conduct remote site visits in distance consultations. Students are also able to participate in the Collaborative Advanced Psychiatric-Education eXchange (CO-APEX) program, a partnership between the CU College of Nursing and the University of New Mexico College of Nursing.
Students' training hour contact reports are carefully logged regardless of location. Time spent with clinical partners, percentage of hours, and populations seen will be tracked using Typhon clinical tracking systems. The students log the type of treatments they train in, the preceptors they train with, the location of the preceptors, the diagnostic codes, ages treated, and type of population served (i.e. rural\underserved).