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NURS 5515/6515/7515 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

NURS 5515/6515/7515 - Advanced Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course focuses on advanced principles and concepts related to mental health nursing. The course emphasizes the roles and functions of the advanced practice nurse in meeting the needs of individuals/families/groups/communities who are experiencing alterations in psychosocial functioning. It includes management strategies from the domains of nursing, medicine and pharmacological therapeutics. Evidence-based practices, research, culture diversity, ethics and legal issues are integrated into this course.

Course Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course the student will be able to:

  1. Compare the key components of theoretic models that provide a basis for psychiatric-mental health nursing practice.
  2. Explain the Psychiatric Nurse Advanced Practice Role as it is defined by national nursing organizations.
  3. Discuss how therapeutic communication can enhance assessment and therapeutic alliance with patients experiencing psychiatric mental health alterations.
  4. Explain the role of neurotransmitters, membrane receptors, and messenger-signaling systems, along with genetic discoveries on psychiatric disease.
  5. Discuss the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of psychiatric medications.
  6. Compare and contrast the different focuses of psychodynamics techniques.
  7. Discuss the changing focus of mental health care from inpatient to community-based care.
  8. Discuss ethical and legal principles that give the advance practice nurse a moral guide to practice with mentally ill patients.
  9. Explain the nursing process for patients experiencing crisis.
  10. List the nursing services and interventions available to meet the needs of the incarcerated, violent, and homeless populations. 
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Admission to the TN eCampus MSN program; pre- or co-requisites: NURS 5101, NURS 5102, NURS 5103, NURS 5104.

Course Topics:
  • Course Topic #1 Theories that impact psychiatric mental health nursing care
  • Course Topic #2 The Advanced Practice role
  • Course Topic #3 Communication and the therapeutic alliance 
  • Course Topic #4 Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Course Topic #5 Neurophysiology of Psychotherapy
  • Course Topic #6 Psychopharmacology
  • Course Topic #7 Community-based psychiatric nursing care
  • Course Topic #8 Suicide and Suicide assessment and prevention
  • Course Topic #9 Psychotherapeutic approaches for individuals and groups
  • Course Topic #10 Ethical and legal issues
  • Course Topic #11 Incarcerated populations
  • Course Topic #12 Violence
  • Course Topic #13 Substance Abuse 

This course consists of online instruction. Students are reminded that graduate online course activities require preparation and study time. As an example, for a 3 credit hour online graduate course you should expect to spend at least 12 hours each week accessing course materials, studying the content modules and readings, and completing assignments, such as discussions, critiques, case studies, and paper projects. 


Specific Course Requirements:

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:

Supplemental periodicals and journal articles assigned by instructor. 

Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:

All course assessments are submitted online. 

Grading Procedures:
Module/Discussion boards40%
Evidence-based article critiques15%
Case study15%
Final project paper30%


Grading Scale:

You must make a C (77%) or better in order to pass this course. If a D or F is made in the course it must be retaken. 

Assignments and Projects:
Online Participation10%
11 discussion boards @ 40%30%
4 critiques of evidence based research article @ 15%15%
1 case study @ 15%15%
1 final project paper @ 30%30%
# of Exercises @ points eachSubtotal Points
# of Exams @ points eachSubtotal Points
Total Points100%


Class Participation:

All students must participate in the discussion forums in order to meet the course requirements. Active participation in online discussions of course content is expected. Students must comply with the standards for online behavior in the Student Handbook and the Discussion Board Ground Rules posted in eCourseware. Each discussion forum will have a required due date posted within eCourseware and the syllabus. 

Late Policy:

Late initial postings are accepted up to three (3) days after the initial posting due date with 10 points subtracted for each day late. Respond postings (at least 2) to other students must be completed by Monday following the due date at 5pm and must be supported by a minimum of one (1) source, using appropriate APA 6th ed. formatting. Respond postings after the due date are not accepted and will result in the grade of “0”. Students are responsible for having responses to their discussion board postings. If no other student has responded to a student’s posting, the student must request other students to response. Students who have no responses to their discussion board posting due to late posting will lost points on their grade. 

Students are expected to:

  • Check the course calendar for the due dates of assignments.
  • Check the course news section on the home page frequently for announcements. 

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on April 28, 2017