Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Lifespan)

Program Information

Susie Adams

Meet the Program Director

Rene Love

Love has taught at VUSN for 15 years, including courses in the MSN and DNP programs. She has secured grants focusing on mental health and crisis postvention in public schools; playing a role in the development of state guidelines for mental health for the Tennessee State Board of Education. She is frequently an invited speaker for national conferences on topics such as how to prepare school systems for post-crisis responses and advocating for change in the psychiatric nursing workforce. 


In 2012, she was awarded the Jeanette Chamberlain award for service from the International Society of Psychiatric Nursing. She is an active member of Sigma Theta Tau International and played an important role in last year’s 60th Anniversary of the Iota Chapter. She was recently elected to Distinguished Fellowship in the National Academies of Practice and the Nursing Academy as a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow. 


Love earned her BSN from Valdosta State University, and her MSN, DNP and Family Psych Mental Health post master’s certificate from VUSN.  She is currently pursuing her PhD at the University of Arizona.


The Vanderbilt Experience

As one of the first schools in the nation to develop the role of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Vanderbilt School of Nursing expanded the role of the clinical nurse specialist (CNS) by preparing advanced practice nurses who can conduct physical assessments, order/evaluate laboratory tests and provide ongoing psycho- and pharmacotherapeutic treatment to a broad spectrum of mental health clients. You will be placed in a variety of clinical sites that are matched with your area of interest and previous educational and/or clinical experiences. All students will have clinical experiences to treat patients across the lifespan.

Modified Class Schedule

Students eligible for the modified learning format and distance clinical placement are those who already have an RN license: RN PreSpecialty, Direct Entry, and Post-Master’s Certificate Program students. You will complete your PMHNP specialty program through a modified learning (block) format that includes: (1) courses offered in concentrated blocks of time on campus, including weekends, up to four times per semester, (2) on-line conferencing and (3) distributed course delivery methods which allow for continued faculty contact between sessions.

Distance option students may choose to attend weekly lectures on-campus or to access these lectures from a remote site through:

  • Live video-streamed lectures broadcast over the Vanderbilt School of Nursing website at the specified class time,
  • Archived video-streamed lectures available on Blackboard course links.

In addition, students are required to attend courses in concentrated blocks of time on campus, up to four times per semester over an extended weekend of approximately five days. Due to State Boards of Nursing and/or State Higher Educational rules, the School may not be able to provide clinical placements in your location of choice, but every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate your placement request.

Students matriculating through the PreSpecialty Program are required to complete all coursework and clinical placements in residence and attend weekly specialty classes on campus. Clinical placements for these students will be in Nashville or nearby communities.