Scope and Standards of Practice Paper

Scope and Standards of Practice Paper

The advancement to the next level of specialization by becoming an advanced practice registered nurse or APRN is the ultimate wish of any nurse. This is because this is the path that leads to the zenith of their career and makes them the experts of their field that they wish to be. But this calls for the understanding and realization of one’s individual abilities and areas of interest, since there are about eleven different areas of nursing specialization to choose from. Success in later years of specialization is therefore dependent on careful consideration and choice based on personal areas of interest. There are several recognized pathways that a nurse can use to join and pursue postgraduate training in their specialty of choice. For instance, this could be from Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) to MSN or an associate degree to MSN. This paper looks at one such choice of a nursing specialty, by comparing it to an alternative specialty choice and examining one corresponding professional organization that a nurse in that specialty can join. Scope and Standards of Practice Paper


Nursing Specialty Choice and Alternative

My personal area of nursing specialty of preference is as psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner or PMHNP. This is where my interests are, with regard to being of assistance to those members of the society that are being stigmatized because of the psychiatric conditions that they have. In this MSN specialty, graduates are prepared to be critical thinkers and problem solvers with respect to analyzing clinical situations by taking proper history and arriving at correct psychiatric diagnoses. They are then not only trained and prepared to treat the psychiatric condition diagnosed, but also prepared to be in a position to follow up treatment and counsel both the patient and their families. And since these graduates are prepared to offer holistic mental health care, they are also prepared to offer non-pharmacologic psychiatric treatment such as psychotherapy (ANA, 2014). Scope and Standards of Practice Paper

The alternative specialty I- would choose in the event that I do not succeed in pursuing mental health nursing would be as a women’s health nurse practitioner or WHNP. This would be a significant departure from mental health, but it would still encompass my other interest of working with and helping women through their very unique health problems. A WHNP is prepared to not only handle normal disease conditions in women, but also diagnose and treat women’s reproductive health problems and other gynecological concerns.

Justification of Primary Choice of Specialty

A PMHNP is a special nurse practitioner in that he deals with a very special population of patient that is dependent and requires compassionate care. Since my interest has always been the advocacy for these marginalised patients, I find this area of specialty the most befitting for me to explore my interests and use my talents. I choose this specialty because I am already mentally prepared for the journey of PMHNP licensure, accreditation, certification, and education or LACE (ANA, 2014). This specialty will give me the opportunity to offer primary mental health care that I- am passionate about, use the emerging telehealth paradigm to reach as many of my psychiatric patients and their families as possible, and engage in advocacy for the well-being of mental health patients (ANA, 2014).

Choice of Professional Organization

            As a PMHNP, one of the most appropriate professional organizations that I would join is the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses or ISPN (ISPN, 2019). This professional body brings together expert mental health nurses from all over the world and provides a platform for sharing knowledge and the latest evidence-based interventions in the specialty. Membership is by LACE qualification and the payment of a membership fee of USD 35 for students and 150 for graduate PMHNPs (ISPN, 2019).Scope and Standards of Practice Paper


The nursing specialty of a PMHNP is an interesting area of specialization that provides interested nurses the opportunity to serve the marginalized patient population of psychiatric patients. There are immense opportunities for education, qualification, licensure, and practice in the field. Moreover, various professional organizations exist to cater for the professional needs of all PMHNPs around the world.


American Nurses Association [ANA] (2014). Psychiatric-mental health nursing: Scope and standards of practice, 2nd ed. Silver Spring, MD: Author.

International Society for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses [ISPN] (2019). ISPN 2020 conference. Retrieved 20 August 2019 from


Scope and Standards of Practice Paper


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