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There are so many nursing specialties that spark my interest, it was difficult to narrow it down and commit to only one. While I really enjoyed working in surgery, my calling and passion have always resonated more with mental health. Family and life experiences have helped equip me to serve others with mental health needs. When it came time to pick a specialty for the MSN program, I had a long debate over public health and mental health specialties. I have really enjoyed working in an outpatient mental health clinic serving a vulnerable population. This is where my crossroads was revealed. After researching and networking, I realized I could use a PMHNP (psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner) degree to serve the public health population. There is a growing demand for mental health and addiction services in vulnerable populations. The revelation that I could do both, confirmed my original desire to pursue an advanced nursing degree in mental health.

Obtaining a Master’s Degree will allow me to have a more profound impact on the vulnerable population that I already serve. Master’s level prepared nurses have the ability to identify, apply, and explain why evidence-based standards of practice are important while being involved in the evolution of nursing practice (Laureate Education, 2018). It was difficult to choose between an MSN degree in public health or mental health. Researching the Walden University website to obtain as much information as I could to compare the curriculum and career impact for each option helped clarify which avenue aligns most with my professional mission and vision. The various specialties offered for MSN degrees are very well-defined on Walden’s website with enough information to visualize the future academic and career paths that each program offers (Walden University, 2020). After reviewing the information on the website, I felt confident in my decision to pursue the PMHNP specialty.

There are many professional organizations available that cater specifically to nurses and mental health professionals. I explored a list geared toward the PMHNP profession on the Vanderbilt School of Nursing (n.d.) site and narrowed it down to one that seemed to best fit my professional goals and vision. While I was very interested in the Foundations of Addiction Nursing (FAN), I found that the organization was too specific to align with my overall career goals. I ultimately decided that the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN) would better serve a comprehensive career in mental health. The ISPN website clearly states its mission to promote mental health and support mental health advanced practice nurses. This site provides boundless resources for advanced-practice mental health nurses and students (ISPN, n.d.). Student memberships are available for $35 and include full member benefits, including voting, holding office, and submitting abstracts. Students are required to be enrolled in a graduate program for psychiatric-mental health advanced practice nursing, fill out a membership form, and pay the dues for membership (ISPN, n.d.). I am looking forward to exploring all this organization has to offe(
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