by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Oklahoma City Kramer School of Nursing enrolled students in its inaugural class of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in the fall of 2020.
“We are the first program in Oklahoma to offer this track and are very excited. We provide high quality, brick and mortar education to students in Oklahoma and have excellent first-time pass rates for national certification,” said Cene’ Livingston, associate professor of nursing, who leads the psychiatric nurse practitioner track at OCU.
She is dual certified as a family nurse practitioner, and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Livingston is also certified nurse educator.
Oklahomans will benefit from the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner as the COVID-19 pandemic inflicts the nation and challenges the nursing industry.
“As much as we can — we will help fill a need to take care of people,” Livingston explained.
OCU Kramer School of Nursing began formulating the program two years ago. The psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track admitted a cohort of six students in the fall of 2020. Eight post-masters students will be admitted in the summer of this year. Students have welcomed the psychiatric track, Livingston said.
Five OCU Kramer School of Nursing students have switched from the family nurse practitioner track to the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner track.
“They understand there is a niche for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners,” she said. (story continues below)
Livingston has always been interested in mental health issues and psychiatric nursing. The university has been supportive of her accomplishments.
Coronavirus is taking a toll on the mental health of Oklahomans. Many people have lost incomes, and have adjusted to social distancing, sometimes at the cost of participating in their usual family and friend gatherings. And political turmoil is stirring uncertainty within the United States.
These effects of traumatic events over the last year have caused a plethora of issues, some long-term challenges needing to be addressed.
Nurse practitioners take a holistic approach in responding to mind, body, and spirit.
“The advanced practice faculty at OCU Kramer School of Nursing are excellent to work with and truly care about our students,” Livingston said. “Our mantra is that we are invested in our students’ success. Our team works very hard to ensure we are helping students learn to be the best advanced practice nurses they can be. We are teaching in the classroom — masked and socially distanced — with increased disinfecting measures.”
Livingston said COVID has increased the difficulty of obtaining preceptorships for students. However, some great community partners who have come through for the majority of students.
The advanced practice nursing programs (BSN-DNP: Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice) began in 2011 with a family nurse practitioner track, Livingston said.
OCU Kramer School of Nursing has since expanded to include the adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP) and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner tracks (PMHNP). Kramer also offers post-master certificates for each specialty track for nurses already certified in another specialty.
OCU Kramer School of Nursing offers DNP completion for nurses with master of science in nursing degrees who would like to earn a terminal degree.
Livingston admires students who pursue any type of continuing education, particularly a four-year BSN to DNP program, she said.
The PMHNP serves patients across their life span. The PMHNP is prepared in pediatrics, adolescent, and adult psychiatric health. They can work with elders and be part of a health care teams within in-patient settings, Livingston said. The PMHNP can also do out-patient mental health and are educated to provide different types of psychotherapy. Some PMHNPs provide therapy in their own independent practice. Although society is gaining an understanding of the nurse practitioner’s role in health care, there remains some misconceptions about their role.
“We’re here to help out,” Livingston said.
The nurse practitioner is a concentrated effort needing relaxation and invigorating experiences to feed a flourishing outcome.
Livingston not only reads career-oriented books, but also reads books for fun and enjoyment.
That’s my favorite past time and spending time with my dogs. She has a blue nose pit bull and another one that is a tricolored pit bully.
“They’re precious — I love them — they are big babies, and they are definitely momma’s dogs,” she said.
She wakes up in the morning appreciating how much educators at OCU Kramer School of Nursing appreciate their profession and their interdisciplinary camaraderie.
“It has been a pleasure to be part of the OCU Kramer School of Nursing and play a role in developing and expanding advanced practice education to the nurses of Oklahoma,” Livingston said.
Oklahoma City University – Kramer Nursing School, 2501 N Blackwelder Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73106 www.okcu.edu/nursing/home (405) 208-5900