Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, DNP

Nurse helping a patient.

PMHNP Program Overview

PMHNP -The Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner specialty track prepares the student to provide behavioral health care across the lifespan. Our innovative program ensures that you have a strong foundation in evidence-based practice while providing you with the skills to diagnose and treat both behavioral health and substance use disorders.

PMHNP students learn to skillfully prescribe psychotropic medication and provide psychotherapy for patients with behavioral health diagnoses. You will engage in an interprofessional learning environment that enables you learn about telemedicine, primary care, substance use disorders and neuropsychiatric disorders.

Upon completion, our graduates are eligible to sit for certification for the American Nurse Credentialing Center. Our board certification scores consistently exceed national benchmarks and our graduates are highly regarded for employment opportunities in inpatient and outpatient care settings, specialty settings and the school environment.

View the plans of study for our current students.

Meet Your Lead Faculty, Dr. Joy Lauerer

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Joy Lauerer
Lead Faculty
Telephone: 843-792-7646

Joy Lauerer is an associate professor in the College of Nursing. She received her Bachelor’s degree from The University of Toledo and her Masters of Nursing from Wayne State University. Joy completed a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at The University of Alabama.

Joy is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. She has maintained a private practice treating preschoolers to young adults with mental health issues for the past 15 years. Joy’s research interests include adolescent self-care and teaching children and adolescent’s strategies to promote and protect health over a lifetime. Joy has received numerous awards for her work in the community with vulnerable populations.

Joy has expertise treating children and adolescents with behavioral health issues. She is currently practicing in a school based tele psych clinic with the MUSC telehealth center and at One 80 Place. She has received The Golden Lamp award an unprecedented 4 times chosen by the students as the nurse they would most like to emulate as a professional nurse. Joy also received The Palmetto Gold award in 2014 for excellence in nursing education.

In 2016 Joy received The APNA award for Innovation in Education and in 2017 was elected for a three-year appointment as the co- chair of the child adolescent council. In 2021 Joy was selected to Co- chair a tele mental health committee for APNA.Joy is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, The American Psychiatric Nurses Association, and The American Holistic Nurses Association.

Joy teaches courses in the undergraduate and graduate nursing programs.