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Master Of Mental Health Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)

Master of Mental Health Nursing (Nurse Practitioner)


Intending students please note: this program of study is subject to accreditation by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council and approval by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

The Master of Mental Health Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) program is designed to prepare expert nurses for the autonomous role of the nurse practitioner in the speciality of mental health nursing. If you are already highly skilled then you may aspire to becoming a nurse practitioner in mental health. In this program, you will further develop your skills in health assessment and differential diagnosis within a holistic nursing model of care. You will undertake studies in pharmaco-therapeutics, research, contemporary mental health nursing issues and leadership which will support you in your extended role. These studies will provide you with the confidence to work as a valuable member of the healthcare team and feel that you are really making a vital contribution to your clients health outcome.

This program requires the successful completion of 120 units of study. The program is intended for registered nurses who wish to apply for authorisation by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) to work as a nurse practitioner, or who may wish to present the qualification to authorities in other states or countries. The program includes a minimum of 300 hours of embedded clinical practice in mental health nursing, under the guidance of approved academic and clinical mentors (approved by the Program Convenor). This clinical practice is undertaken in the students normal place of work. It is expected that the students employment is accredited with the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) or similar.


Why Study With us?

Mental health nurses experienced and qualified to work in advanced practice roles are in very short supply in Australia and many other countries at a time in which innovative models of care are being introduced in public and private health services. The career development prospects for this exciting specialist field of nursing are thus excellent. In line with these new developments in mental health care, the main focus of the Master of Mental Health Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) is on advanced clinical practice at nurse practitioner level. The intention is to produce graduates who will be able to work effectively as mental health nurse practitioners in any health care location.

The program is offered by the School of Nursing and Midwifery in partnership with the three other contributing Schools within the Faculty of Health - Medicine and Public Health, Health Sciences and Biomedical Sciences. This has allowed collaboration in the planning of the program and ensures that students have access to excellent resource materials and staff in the key areas of pathology, medical imaging, pharmacology and clinical nursing. Teaching is shared between academic staff from various disciplines within the Faculty and conjoint academic staff who are expert clinicians in mental health nursing practice.

It is anticipated that the Master of Mental Health Nursing (Nurse Practitioner) will be accepted as part of the credentialing process by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.


Career opportunities

The program is designed for Registered Nurses who are currently practicing at an advanced level and aspire to nurse practitioner practice. The students will further develop and refine their knowledge and clinical skills in comprehensive health assessment and diagnosis. These skills would be required for autonomous practice as a nurse practitioner but would also be useful in senior clinical nursing roles, nursing research and/or nursing education.


Mental health nurses work in a wide variety of service locations, in both the public and private sectors. The discipline is rapidly developing with opportunities for nurse practitioner positions being developed in areas such as rural mental health, child and adolescent mental health, mental health nursing in emergency departments and mental health nursing in primary care (general practice).


Admission Requirements

The admission criteria for this program are consistent with the criteria outlined by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council (ANMC)(2009) standards and criteria for post-graduate courses designed to prepare students for authorisation as a nurse practitioner with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

  • Current registration as a nurse in Australia.
  • A minimum of five years full-time equivalent (FTE) experience as a Registered Nurse, including three years FTE as a Registered Nurse in a specialty area and one year FTE at an advanced practice level in mental health nursing.
  • Bachelor of Nursing or equivalent. A post-graduate qualification in mental health nursing that has prepared the applicant for advanced practice; this can either be completed prior to admission to the program, in which case appropriate credit will be awarded. Alternatively, students completing the 120 units of this program will have then met this criterion.
  • Evidence of professional activity - active involvement in the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and contribution to the ongoing development of the profession
  • Employed in a position that will enable you to gain further clinical experience in your area of mental health nursing practice.
  • Confirmed workplace support to complete all professional experience requirements of the course, including a minimum of 300 hours of embedded clinical practice in mental health nursing, under the guidance of approved academic and clinical mentors (approved by the Program Convenor).


Assumed Knowledge

  • Completed Bachelor of Nursing degree or equivalent. Equivalence must include Introduction to Research, or Research Design (including quantitative and qualitative); and
  • Evidence of 3 year full time (or equivalent part time) clinical practice in mental health nursing; and
  • Evidence of 1 year full time (or equivalent part time) at an advanced practice level in mental health nursing practice.


A maximum of 30 Units for a Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing from the University of Newcastle OR up to a maximum of 60 Units for a Master of Mental Health Nursing (from the University of Newcastle) for courses completed that are common to the Master of Mental Health Nursing (Nurse Practitioner).

Credit for qualifications gained from other institutions will be assessed on an individual basis.


Professional experience

Students must undertake a minimum 300 hours practical experience as part of the program requirements. This experience will be located at the students regular place of work.


Professional Accreditation

Graduates of the program are eligible to seek credentialling as mental health nurses under the Credentialing for Practice Program of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses.

Information on professional recognition can be found at the Australian College of Nurse Practitioners


This program does not admit International students.


Additional information

Students are required to nominate two clinical mentors with their application. The mentors should include:

1. A medical practitioner if possible or other health specialist if expert in mental health

2. An authorised NP or a CNC/nurse educator with a masters degree or equivalent

The mentors should be colleagues of the student and willing/available to spend one hour per week for 12 wks with the student in the final three courses of the program. The mentor will be required to assess the students competency on completion of these courses and may also be invited to participate in the students final clinical viva examination.

Program duration is dependent upon granting of credit & on course availability. NURS6620, PHAR6701 and PHAR6702 are requisites for NURS6621 & NURS6622. PHAR6701 is a requisite for PHAR6702.

The following courses contain residentials:

  • (5 days) - NURS6620 Biophysical Processes and Health Assessment
  • (2 days) - NURS6031 Therapeutic Engagement and Psychosocial Interventions


Requirements and Structure

Students enrolled in this program are required to complete 120 units in total, including: 90 units of Core courses and 30 units of Directed courses.

Students must speak to the Program Convenor before completing their enrolment process to discuss a recommended pattern of enrolment.



Enquire now for more information on units available and semester intake dates