New Nursing Program Added at WT to Address Rural Mental Health Needs

Chip Chandler Aug 31, 2020
  • Nursing
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New Nursing Program Added at WT to Address Rural Mental Health Needs

Copy by Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124,


CANYON, Texas — A new graduate-level certificate program designed to increase the number of qualified mental-health professionals in the region is now offered at West Texas A&M University.

Students may now enroll in a post-master’s graduate certificate program to become a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.

The certification will allow family nurse practitioners and registered nurses with master’s of science in nursing degrees to assess, diagnose and treat individuals and families with psychiatric disorders using the full scope of therapeutic skills, including the prescription of medication and the administration of psychotherapy, said Dr. Holly Jeffreys, head of the WT Department of Nursing.

Jeffreys said that adding the certification program will address a critical need in the Panhandle, which meets a key aspiration of the University’s generational plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

“Right now, there are less than 1,000 psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners in the entire state, and most of them are concentrated in large metropolitan areas such as Dallas-Fort Worth,” Jeffreys said. “Adding this to our curriculum will help us better provide mental health care in Texas’ rural and underserved areas.”

Six to eight students will be admitted each fall through a competitive selection process. The program will be offered online with one or two on-campus meetings each semester.


About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. With enrollment of more than 10,000, WT offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 38 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 15 men’s and women’s athletics programs.