Many of our programs have made exceptions to the application process and requirements due to circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic response at WesternU. Any references to in-person campus visits, events, lab work, or classroom interactions must be read in light of social distancing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). WesternU has implemented remote teaching and learning across all campuses and only essential personnel are on campus at this time. Please contact us if you have any questions or need further information.

Question 1: Do I need to have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to apply?

You must have an earned MSN to apply for the Post-Masters’s PMHNP program. A master’s in a nurse-related field is not acceptable

Question 2: Do I need to be a Registered Nurse (RN) to apply?
Yes. You will be asked to submit proof of your licensure at the time of application.

Question 3: If I live out of state can I attend?
Yes, but you must live in a state in which we have Department of Education authorization. Air travel is convenient to the Ontario International Airport, which is 15 minutes from campus. Many area hotels offer shuttle service to the campus. After orientation, many students make acquaintances and share hotel expenses. Distant students enrolled in clinical programs are required to periodically extend their seminar weekends to work with clinical faculty.

Question 4: Do you give preference to California residents?
No. We are a private institution and do not have to meet certain resident enrollment standards.

Question 5: Is tuition the same for in-state and out-of-state residents?
Yes. Tuition costs are the same for all students within the same program.

Question 6: What if I haven’t been in school for a long time?
Many of our students have not been in school for a long time. We find that adults do very well with our learning model as it is designed for the working professional who has typically been out of school for a while.

Question 7: After I graduate do I have to take a standardized exam before beginning to practice?
National certification is required in 46 of the 50 states. California does not require national certification at this time. However, we strongly recommend taking the national certification examination due to reimbursement restrictions of NPs who are not nationally certified.

Question 8: Do I need to plan for an interview as part of the admissions process?
No. You will be required to submit a personal statement and a CV as part of your application and that is what is used to gain insight into your motivation for graduate study, and your career goals.

Question 9: When will I be notified of my admissions decision?
All applications will be reviewed as quickly as possible, followed by decision electronic notices.

Question 1: Do I need to have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to apply?
You must have an earned MSN to apply for the Post-Graduate PMHNP program. A master’s in a nurse-related field is not acceptable.

Question 2: Do I need to be a Registered Nurse (RN) to apply?
Yes. You will be asked to submit proof of your licensure at the time of application. You must also have a minimum of one year full time work experience as a registered nurse.

Question 3: Do you require any standardized tests prior to application?
No. We do not require any standardized tests (i.e GRE or MCAT) prior to application.

Question 4: What are the GPA requirements?
The Post-Master’s PMHNP program requires a minimum GPA of 3.0. GPA is calculated on the last 60 units completed, and an overall GPA of graduate and undergraduate courses.

Question 5: What should I do if my GPA is not at least 3.0?
If you do not meet the required minimum GPA of 3.0, then include in your personal statement an explanation for your low GPA. We will review your personal statement and possibly interview you by phone or in person. Occasionally, we do admit students with a GPA below 3.0 on a probationary status for the first semester. Also, we may recommend retaking courses with low grades to improve your GPA.

Question 6: Can I transfer some of my previous graduate coursework to waive out of some of the courses in the program?
If the courses are determined to be of equivalent content and are focused on the NP role and not on the RN role, then previous graduate courses of similar content can be used to challenge any of WesternU’s College of Graduate Nursing courses. There is a challenge policy that is outlined in the student academic policy handbook that is to be followed for this process.

Question 7: Can I talk to a counselor about my prerequisite coursework?
Yes. Contact the admissions office by phone at (909) 469-5335 or by e-mail to ask a question.

Question 1: How do I check my application status online?
You can check your application status by visiting the application status page.

Question 2: What if I want to change information on my application after I have completed it?
You may not change answers or documents submitted with your application, but you may upload additional, supplemental materials. To do so, visit the application status page and use the “Upload Materials” section of the page to submit your supplemental materials.

Question 3: What if I want to apply to more than one program? Do I need to create a new account?
You can apply to multiple programs using a single account. Visit our online application, log in, and click “Start New Application” at the bottom of the page.

Question 4: What address should I use if I need to mail any additional application materials?
For official transcripts please mail to:
Western University of Health Sciences
Attn: Admissions Operations/program you are applying for (MSMS, MSNE, MSPS, etc.)
309 E Second Street
Pomona, CA 91766

For unofficial documents, please upload to the online application as indicated in the application instructions.

Question 5: How do I pay my application fee?
All application fees require payments made by credit card. Only cards with Visa and Master Card logos will be accepted. No checks, money orders, or cash will be accepted for payment of application fees.

Question 6: What if I do not have a Visa or Master Card?
Payment may be made with a Visa or Master Card prepaid gift card which can be purchased at many major chain stores or online. Please be aware that the gift card must contain a balance sufficient to cover the application fee in one full payment.

Question 7: Are fee waivers accepted?
Payment is required at time of application, if a fee waiver is approved a reimbursement will be issued.

Question 8: How do I withdraw my application?
You may withdraw your application by visiting the application status page. Scroll to the bottom of your application and select withdraw my application.

Question 9: How do I delete an application I accidentally started?
Applicants cannot delete their own application once started. Please submit a request to Admissions Operations at AO@westernu.eduto have it deleted.

Question 10: I have applied to more than one program. How do I check my application status for multiple applications?
You can check your application status by visiting the application status page. Select the application you wish to view from the drop down menu located on the right hand side.

Question 1: Is WesternU’s PMHNP program nationally accredited? 
Yes. WesternU’s and all of it’s programs, are accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) 985 Atlantic Venue, Suite 100. Alameda, CA  94570. (510) 748-900.

In addition, the College of Graduate Nursing received professional accreditation by CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) for the MAXIMUM years of accreditation.

Question 2: What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has received advanced training in diagnosing and treating illnesses, health promotion and disease prevention services. Many are psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, and some specialize in areas, including:

  • Care of adults with complex mental health disorders
  • Care of children and adolescent with complex mental health disorders
  • Care of older adults with mental health needs
  • Care of clients with substance abuse disorders

Question 3: What is the difference between a physician assistant (PA) and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP)?
Nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA) practice in the same settings but with a somewhat different focus. In California, PAs must practice under the direct supervision of a physician. NPs must have a collaborative agreement with a physician but he/she is not required to be physically present in the same facility as the physician. Another difference is that an NP practices under his or her own license while PAs practice under the physician’s license.

Question 4: What is the pass rate on the National Certification Exam?
CGN will graduate the first class of PMHNP students in 2022 and we will know the pass rate at that time.

Question 5: Is this an online program?
The MSN/PMHNP and the Post-Master’s Certificate PMHNP are web-based.  Early courses in the Master’s degree may have seminar weekend intensives twice per semester for the first year.  The Post-Master’s program and the last year of the Master’s program require one immersion in August held on the Pomona Campus.

Question 6: What are the benefits of learning in a web-based program?
There are many advantages to a web-based program. First, it allows the master’s-prepared nurse to complete an advanced degree while living and working in his/her own community. This offers the student a great degree of flexibility in scheduling written coursework around job, personal, and family commitments. Second, the one-on-one nature of web-based class discussion groups allows the nursing faculty to get to know students better than in a more traditional classroom group format. Finally, WesternU’s program is designed with the adult learner in mind. Students find the course content to be more relevant to their needs, since they are actively involved in shaping their educational experience.

Question 7: Are WesternU’ web-based nursing programs as rigorous as traditional programs?

Yes. We maintain professional accreditation standards. The curriculum was developed specifically for the Web, and follows national guidelines and standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. WesternU is WASC accredited and offers a full range of degree programs in the medical and allied health sciences. The College of Graduate Nursing received full professional accreditation from the Committee on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) in October 2006. The college is California Board of Registered Nursing approved.

Question 8: How long does it take to complete the Post-Master’s PMNNP program?
The Post-Master’s PMHNP program can be completed in three, 14-week semesters. Students who are motivated and have the support of employers and family can structure their time to complete the coursework and the 2-3 days per week of clinical rotations that are required in one year. However, many students need to extend one semester to complete the clinical hours, or choose to take the program over a longer period of time to maintain more balance in their busy lives.

Question 9: What computer skills will I need?
Students need word processing skills for typing papers, discussions and written clinical cases. Students must also be familiar with using e-mail. Some student presentations will be done using Microsoft Power Point. While new students do not need this skill on admission, applicants will benefit from familiarizing themselves with this computer program.

Since the computer skills required to navigate and complete our curriculum are not difficult, beginners do very well with some focused skill training. We recommend that applicants find a personal computer mentor, or complete the basic software tutorials prior to beginning the program. All students will need an Internet Service Provider (ISP) prior to registration and will be given a WesternU e-mail account during registration.

Question 10: Is Western U on a quarter or semester system?
It is a 3-semester per year, all year round program—with 1 to 2 week intersessions between semesters. Courses are taken concurrently, not sequentially, for 14 weeks per semester. Please refer to the CGN website for the exact courses that are taken each semester (Fall, Spring and Summer). Courses are offered one time per year.

Question 11: Is there an orientation program before I begin?
All students enrolled in the College of Graduate Nursing will be required to attend the University campus orientation in August prior to beginning classes their first year. This date is locked in and attendance is mandatory. For the College of Graduate Nursing, students must attend Wed, Thur, Fri and Saturday of the Orientation week—known as Welcome Week.

During orientation, students will participate in both college and university sessions. Students will be provided with packets, schedules, and dates for the university orientation program. Students are welcome to invite their family members to attend the annual Convocation and White Coat ceremonies, which occur at the end of orientation week on Saturday. Students will have the opportunity to purchase medical equipment and textbooks.

Additionally, students in all programs are required to enroll in “CGN 5000” which is a course designed to introduce the learner to a variety of computer and learning skills and all of CGN policy and resources. All students will begin CGN 5000 Communication and Information Management, which prepares students for success in Western University of Health Sciences’ computer-based courses, prior to orientation. All students must successfully complete the 3 week pre-program course in order to begin Fall courses.

Question 12: Where would I stay when I come to campus for a weekend?
Local students drive in each day of the campus intensive weekends. Distance students stay in a variety of local inns, hotels, etc. with shuttle services. WesternU negotiates special rates for our students.

Question 13: Do I have to write a thesis to graduate?
No, the capstone project for the MSN program is a proposed community improvement intervention project and is not a thesis. The APN Master’s Project provides the Advanced Practice Nurse prospective graduate with a final opportunity to demonstrate his or her ability to integrate and apply concepts learned throughout the master’s program in the practice setting. The culminating course requires the student to develop a health care improvement project, which is broad in scope and has implications for community or practice settings. The project offers insight into the unique contributions nurse practitioners make for a specified population.

Question 14: How many hours of preceptorship are required?
The PMHNP program requires a minimum of 540 clinical hours.  These hours are precepted hours under the guidance of a mentor who will help refine the knowledge and skills necessary for comprehensive PMHNP practice.  All students will participate in a minimum of 135 hours caring for clients with substance abuse disorders, children and adolescents with a variety of common mental health disorders, 135 hours of caring for adults and older adults with acute and complex mental health needs, and 135 hours of counseling of individuals, families, and groups using several different psychotherapies.

Question 15: Can the preceptorships be completed close to my home/work location?
WesternU has a deep pool of clinical preceptorship sites from previous students and our alumni—throughout California and many other states from Alaska to Hawaii. A student’s preceptor may be a board-certified physician trained in psychiatry, a nationally certified psychiatric mental health nurse practice, and or a licensed counselor.

The College encourages multiple rotations for specific experience if needed to optimize student learning. A student’s preceptor and/or clinical instructor may suggest or assist with identifying and scheduling these rotations. If the preceptor is a physician, the student should also work with a nurse practitioner to promote role development. Due to the distance delivery of the program, students are encouraged to identify qualified preceptors in their community prior to starting the program. If students do not have a preceptor, the Clinical Administrator will assist students with securing a qualified preceptor.

Question 16: What is expected of me during a preceptorship?
You will learn the role of the Nurse Practitioner by taking histories, performing physical exams, determining a diagnosis and a management plan for your patients. Your preceptor will mentor your growth as you apply the knowledge you gained in your didactic coursework to your clinical setting. Your faculty will oversee your growth via site visits, evaluations and competency assessments.

Question 17: What is my liability during the preceptorships?
During your clinical rotations, the University covers all students with accident and malpractice insurance. Additionally, all students are always encouraged to carry and maintain their nursing malpractice insurance as a good practice.

Question 18: How will you assess my preceptorship when it is located out of the state of California?
A “Site Visit” is performed on each student each semester in various ways. Some students receive live ‘on site’ visits by faculty, while others receive what we have developed as a ‘virtual site visit’ via web-cam to the preceptor, camcorder recordings of the site and other evaluations. Additionally, your preceptor evaluates your performance with an assessment tool we have designed to get at outcome competencies. Lastly, we have live “on campus” simulated patient scenarios that each student participates in as faculty assess your skills and competencies. So, overall, you are assessed a great deal for your skills and outcome competencies and you are supported to become skilled practitioners.

Question 19: Will past work experience or current certifications held count for a part of the clinical preceptorship hours?
No, all clinical hours are mandated by the Board of Registered Nursing and the accrediting bodies to be actual patient experiences where the student actually assesses the patient and develops the management plan. Therefore, while they are valued and helpful to the student’s nursing practice strength, any work experience, certifications, CEU opportunities, or other educational experiences may not count for any of the 675 hours.

 

Question 20: Do I have to take a national certification exam when I finish the PMHNP program?
Most states require a National Certification Exam to be certified in that state. Some states are in the process of requiring this, while others are not there as yet. There is a national standard being adopted by states across the country, “Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education” that does require national certification for state certification. Many insurers are deciding not to reimburse without a national certification being held by the NP. We encourage all students to sit for a national certification exam to assure practice in their state of choice.

Question 21: Once a student, if I ask a question about the coursework, how quickly can I expect a response?
Our standard is that a response will occur within 72 hours. Faculty are available via phone and e-mail to clarify any questions.

Question 22: As a student, how will my progress be assessed?
All courses include scholarly papers, case studies, presentations, and group participation for problem solving or research. While knowledge is considered the foundation of decision-making, knowledge alone does not assure correlation understanding. Thus, through problem-based learning exercises, online clinical cases, oral presentations, and interactive topical discussions, nursing faculty are able to measure and monitor the acquisition of knowledge, values, self-reflection, and ethical decision making. You must achieve at least a B (80 percent) in each didactic course in order to receive credit.

Question 23: Can I work and attend graduate school at the same time?
Yes. You are encouraged to continue working in your RN role. However, this is a rigorous program and students are encouraged to work part time if possible. Students who work full time have been successful in our program, but they need to have a strong support system (at work and at home) and extremely good organizational skills.

Question 24: How can I learn more about your graduate nursing programs?
There are a number of ways to learn more about us. You’ve taken the first step by coming to our website! For further information or to request an application packet, please contact admissions at (909) 469-5335 or contact us by e-mail. For specific program or clinical questions, please contact the Interim PMHNP Director Dr. Rodney Hicks at rhicks@westernu.edu

Question 25: Can I talk to a faculty member about the curriculum?
Sure! Feel free to contact the Interim PMHNP Director Dr. Rodney Hicks at rhicks@westernu.edu.

Admissions

Many of our programs have made exceptions to the application process and requirements due to circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic response at WesternU. Any references to in-person campus visits, events, lab work, or classroom interactions must be read in light of social distancing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). WesternU has implemented remote teaching and learning across all campuses and only essential personnel are on campus at this time. Please contact us if you have any questions or need further information.

Question 1: Do I need to have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to apply?

You must have an earned MSN to apply for the Post-Masters’s PMHNP program. A master’s in a nurse-related field is not acceptable

Question 2: Do I need to be a Registered Nurse (RN) to apply?
Yes. You will be asked to submit proof of your licensure at the time of application.

Question 3: If I live out of state can I attend?
Yes, but you must live in a state in which we have Department of Education authorization. Air travel is convenient to the Ontario International Airport, which is 15 minutes from campus. Many area hotels offer shuttle service to the campus. After orientation, many students make acquaintances and share hotel expenses. Distant students enrolled in clinical programs are required to periodically extend their seminar weekends to work with clinical faculty.

Question 4: Do you give preference to California residents?
No. We are a private institution and do not have to meet certain resident enrollment standards.

Question 5: Is tuition the same for in-state and out-of-state residents?
Yes. Tuition costs are the same for all students within the same program.

Question 6: What if I haven’t been in school for a long time?
Many of our students have not been in school for a long time. We find that adults do very well with our learning model as it is designed for the working professional who has typically been out of school for a while.

Question 7: After I graduate do I have to take a standardized exam before beginning to practice?
National certification is required in 46 of the 50 states. California does not require national certification at this time. However, we strongly recommend taking the national certification examination due to reimbursement restrictions of NPs who are not nationally certified.

Question 8: Do I need to plan for an interview as part of the admissions process?
No. You will be required to submit a personal statement and a CV as part of your application and that is what is used to gain insight into your motivation for graduate study, and your career goals.

Question 9: When will I be notified of my admissions decision?
All applications will be reviewed as quickly as possible, followed by decision electronic notices.

Prerequisites

Question 1: Do I need to have a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to apply?
You must have an earned MSN to apply for the Post-Graduate PMHNP program. A master’s in a nurse-related field is not acceptable.

Question 2: Do I need to be a Registered Nurse (RN) to apply?
Yes. You will be asked to submit proof of your licensure at the time of application. You must also have a minimum of one year full time work experience as a registered nurse.

Question 3: Do you require any standardized tests prior to application?
No. We do not require any standardized tests (i.e GRE or MCAT) prior to application.

Question 4: What are the GPA requirements?
The Post-Master’s PMHNP program requires a minimum GPA of 3.0. GPA is calculated on the last 60 units completed, and an overall GPA of graduate and undergraduate courses.

Question 5: What should I do if my GPA is not at least 3.0?
If you do not meet the required minimum GPA of 3.0, then include in your personal statement an explanation for your low GPA. We will review your personal statement and possibly interview you by phone or in person. Occasionally, we do admit students with a GPA below 3.0 on a probationary status for the first semester. Also, we may recommend retaking courses with low grades to improve your GPA.

Question 6: Can I transfer some of my previous graduate coursework to waive out of some of the courses in the program?
If the courses are determined to be of equivalent content and are focused on the NP role and not on the RN role, then previous graduate courses of similar content can be used to challenge any of WesternU’s College of Graduate Nursing courses. There is a challenge policy that is outlined in the student academic policy handbook that is to be followed for this process.

Question 7: Can I talk to a counselor about my prerequisite coursework?
Yes. Contact the admissions office by phone at (909) 469-5335 or by e-mail to ask a question.

Online Application

Question 1: How do I check my application status online?
You can check your application status by visiting the application status page.

Question 2: What if I want to change information on my application after I have completed it?
You may not change answers or documents submitted with your application, but you may upload additional, supplemental materials. To do so, visit the application status page and use the “Upload Materials” section of the page to submit your supplemental materials.

Question 3: What if I want to apply to more than one program? Do I need to create a new account?
You can apply to multiple programs using a single account. Visit our online application, log in, and click “Start New Application” at the bottom of the page.

Question 4: What address should I use if I need to mail any additional application materials?
For official transcripts please mail to:
Western University of Health Sciences
Attn: Admissions Operations/program you are applying for (MSMS, MSNE, MSPS, etc.)
309 E Second Street
Pomona, CA 91766

For unofficial documents, please upload to the online application as indicated in the application instructions.

Question 5: How do I pay my application fee?
All application fees require payments made by credit card. Only cards with Visa and Master Card logos will be accepted. No checks, money orders, or cash will be accepted for payment of application fees.

Question 6: What if I do not have a Visa or Master Card?
Payment may be made with a Visa or Master Card prepaid gift card which can be purchased at many major chain stores or online. Please be aware that the gift card must contain a balance sufficient to cover the application fee in one full payment.

Question 7: Are fee waivers accepted?
Payment is required at time of application, if a fee waiver is approved a reimbursement will be issued.

Question 8: How do I withdraw my application?
You may withdraw your application by visiting the application status page. Scroll to the bottom of your application and select withdraw my application.

Question 9: How do I delete an application I accidentally started?
Applicants cannot delete their own application once started. Please submit a request to Admissions Operations at AO@westernu.eduto have it deleted.

Question 10: I have applied to more than one program. How do I check my application status for multiple applications?
You can check your application status by visiting the application status page. Select the application you wish to view from the drop down menu located on the right hand side.

Other

Question 1: Is WesternU’s PMHNP program nationally accredited? 
Yes. WesternU’s and all of it’s programs, are accredited by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) 985 Atlantic Venue, Suite 100. Alameda, CA  94570. (510) 748-900.

In addition, the College of Graduate Nursing received professional accreditation by CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) for the MAXIMUM years of accreditation.

Question 2: What is a nurse practitioner?

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse who has received advanced training in diagnosing and treating illnesses, health promotion and disease prevention services. Many are psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, and some specialize in areas, including:

  • Care of adults with complex mental health disorders
  • Care of children and adolescent with complex mental health disorders
  • Care of older adults with mental health needs
  • Care of clients with substance abuse disorders

Question 3: What is the difference between a physician assistant (PA) and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP)?
Nurse practitioners (NP) and physician assistants (PA) practice in the same settings but with a somewhat different focus. In California, PAs must practice under the direct supervision of a physician. NPs must have a collaborative agreement with a physician but he/she is not required to be physically present in the same facility as the physician. Another difference is that an NP practices under his or her own license while PAs practice under the physician’s license.

Question 4: What is the pass rate on the National Certification Exam?
CGN will graduate the first class of PMHNP students in 2022 and we will know the pass rate at that time.

Question 5: Is this an online program?
The MSN/PMHNP and the Post-Master’s Certificate PMHNP are web-based.  Early courses in the Master’s degree may have seminar weekend intensives twice per semester for the first year.  The Post-Master’s program and the last year of the Master’s program require one immersion in August held on the Pomona Campus.

Question 6: What are the benefits of learning in a web-based program?
There are many advantages to a web-based program. First, it allows the master’s-prepared nurse to complete an advanced degree while living and working in his/her own community. This offers the student a great degree of flexibility in scheduling written coursework around job, personal, and family commitments. Second, the one-on-one nature of web-based class discussion groups allows the nursing faculty to get to know students better than in a more traditional classroom group format. Finally, WesternU’s program is designed with the adult learner in mind. Students find the course content to be more relevant to their needs, since they are actively involved in shaping their educational experience.

Question 7: Are WesternU’ web-based nursing programs as rigorous as traditional programs?

Yes. We maintain professional accreditation standards. The curriculum was developed specifically for the Web, and follows national guidelines and standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. WesternU is WASC accredited and offers a full range of degree programs in the medical and allied health sciences. The College of Graduate Nursing received full professional accreditation from the Committee on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) in October 2006. The college is California Board of Registered Nursing approved.

Question 8: How long does it take to complete the Post-Master’s PMNNP program?
The Post-Master’s PMHNP program can be completed in three, 14-week semesters. Students who are motivated and have the support of employers and family can structure their time to complete the coursework and the 2-3 days per week of clinical rotations that are required in one year. However, many students need to extend one semester to complete the clinical hours, or choose to take the program over a longer period of time to maintain more balance in their busy lives.

Question 9: What computer skills will I need?
Students need word processing skills for typing papers, discussions and written clinical cases. Students must also be familiar with using e-mail. Some student presentations will be done using Microsoft Power Point. While new students do not need this skill on admission, applicants will benefit from familiarizing themselves with this computer program.

Since the computer skills required to navigate and complete our curriculum are not difficult, beginners do very well with some focused skill training. We recommend that applicants find a personal computer mentor, or complete the basic software tutorials prior to beginning the program. All students will need an Internet Service Provider (ISP) prior to registration and will be given a WesternU e-mail account during registration.

Question 10: Is Western U on a quarter or semester system?
It is a 3-semester per year, all year round program—with 1 to 2 week intersessions between semesters. Courses are taken concurrently, not sequentially, for 14 weeks per semester. Please refer to the CGN website for the exact courses that are taken each semester (Fall, Spring and Summer). Courses are offered one time per year.

Question 11: Is there an orientation program before I begin?
All students enrolled in the College of Graduate Nursing will be required to attend the University campus orientation in August prior to beginning classes their first year. This date is locked in and attendance is mandatory. For the College of Graduate Nursing, students must attend Wed, Thur, Fri and Saturday of the Orientation week—known as Welcome Week.

During orientation, students will participate in both college and university sessions. Students will be provided with packets, schedules, and dates for the university orientation program. Students are welcome to invite their family members to attend the annual Convocation and White Coat ceremonies, which occur at the end of orientation week on Saturday. Students will have the opportunity to purchase medical equipment and textbooks.

Additionally, students in all programs are required to enroll in “CGN 5000” which is a course designed to introduce the learner to a variety of computer and learning skills and all of CGN policy and resources. All students will begin CGN 5000 Communication and Information Management, which prepares students for success in Western University of Health Sciences’ computer-based courses, prior to orientation. All students must successfully complete the 3 week pre-program course in order to begin Fall courses.

Question 12: Where would I stay when I come to campus for a weekend?
Local students drive in each day of the campus intensive weekends. Distance students stay in a variety of local inns, hotels, etc. with shuttle services. WesternU negotiates special rates for our students.

Question 13: Do I have to write a thesis to graduate?
No, the capstone project for the MSN program is a proposed community improvement intervention project and is not a thesis. The APN Master’s Project provides the Advanced Practice Nurse prospective graduate with a final opportunity to demonstrate his or her ability to integrate and apply concepts learned throughout the master’s program in the practice setting. The culminating course requires the student to develop a health care improvement project, which is broad in scope and has implications for community or practice settings. The project offers insight into the unique contributions nurse practitioners make for a specified population.

Question 14: How many hours of preceptorship are required?
The PMHNP program requires a minimum of 540 clinical hours.  These hours are precepted hours under the guidance of a mentor who will help refine the knowledge and skills necessary for comprehensive PMHNP practice.  All students will participate in a minimum of 135 hours caring for clients with substance abuse disorders, children and adolescents with a variety of common mental health disorders, 135 hours of caring for adults and older adults with acute and complex mental health needs, and 135 hours of counseling of individuals, families, and groups using several different psychotherapies.

Question 15: Can the preceptorships be completed close to my home/work location?
WesternU has a deep pool of clinical preceptorship sites from previous students and our alumni—throughout California and many other states from Alaska to Hawaii. A student’s preceptor may be a board-certified physician trained in psychiatry, a nationally certified psychiatric mental health nurse practice, and or a licensed counselor.

The College encourages multiple rotations for specific experience if needed to optimize student learning. A student’s preceptor and/or clinical instructor may suggest or assist with identifying and scheduling these rotations. If the preceptor is a physician, the student should also work with a nurse practitioner to promote role development. Due to the distance delivery of the program, students are encouraged to identify qualified preceptors in their community prior to starting the program. If students do not have a preceptor, the Clinical Administrator will assist students with securing a qualified preceptor.

Question 16: What is expected of me during a preceptorship?
You will learn the role of the Nurse Practitioner by taking histories, performing physical exams, determining a diagnosis and a management plan for your patients. Your preceptor will mentor your growth as you apply the knowledge you gained in your didactic coursework to your clinical setting. Your faculty will oversee your growth via site visits, evaluations and competency assessments.

Question 17: What is my liability during the preceptorships?
During your clinical rotations, the University covers all students with accident and malpractice insurance. Additionally, all students are always encouraged to carry and maintain their nursing malpractice insurance as a good practice.

Question 18: How will you assess my preceptorship when it is located out of the state of California?
A “Site Visit” is performed on each student each semester in various ways. Some students receive live ‘on site’ visits by faculty, while others receive what we have developed as a ‘virtual site visit’ via web-cam to the preceptor, camcorder recordings of the site and other evaluations. Additionally, your preceptor evaluates your performance with an assessment tool we have designed to get at outcome competencies. Lastly, we have live “on campus” simulated patient scenarios that each student participates in as faculty assess your skills and competencies. So, overall, you are assessed a great deal for your skills and outcome competencies and you are supported to become skilled practitioners.

Question 19: Will past work experience or current certifications held count for a part of the clinical preceptorship hours?
No, all clinical hours are mandated by the Board of Registered Nursing and the accrediting bodies to be actual patient experiences where the student actually assesses the patient and develops the management plan. Therefore, while they are valued and helpful to the student’s nursing practice strength, any work experience, certifications, CEU opportunities, or other educational experiences may not count for any of the 675 hours.

 

Question 20: Do I have to take a national certification exam when I finish the PMHNP program?
Most states require a National Certification Exam to be certified in that state. Some states are in the process of requiring this, while others are not there as yet. There is a national standard being adopted by states across the country, “Consensus Model for APRN Regulation: Licensure, Accreditation, Certification and Education” that does require national certification for state certification. Many insurers are deciding not to reimburse without a national certification being held by the NP. We encourage all students to sit for a national certification exam to assure practice in their state of choice.

Question 21: Once a student, if I ask a question about the coursework, how quickly can I expect a response?
Our standard is that a response will occur within 72 hours. Faculty are available via phone and e-mail to clarify any questions.

Question 22: As a student, how will my progress be assessed?
All courses include scholarly papers, case studies, presentations, and group participation for problem solving or research. While knowledge is considered the foundation of decision-making, knowledge alone does not assure correlation understanding. Thus, through problem-based learning exercises, online clinical cases, oral presentations, and interactive topical discussions, nursing faculty are able to measure and monitor the acquisition of knowledge, values, self-reflection, and ethical decision making. You must achieve at least a B (80 percent) in each didactic course in order to receive credit.

Question 23: Can I work and attend graduate school at the same time?
Yes. You are encouraged to continue working in your RN role. However, this is a rigorous program and students are encouraged to work part time if possible. Students who work full time have been successful in our program, but they need to have a strong support system (at work and at home) and extremely good organizational skills.

Question 24: How can I learn more about your graduate nursing programs?
There are a number of ways to learn more about us. You’ve taken the first step by coming to our website! For further information or to request an application packet, please contact admissions at (909) 469-5335 or contact us by e-mail. For specific program or clinical questions, please contact the Interim PMHNP Director Dr. Rodney Hicks at rhicks@westernu.edu

Question 25: Can I talk to a faculty member about the curriculum?
Sure! Feel free to contact the Interim PMHNP Director Dr. Rodney Hicks at rhicks@westernu.edu.