NURS 6003 Academic Success and Professional Development Plan Part 4: Finalizing the Plan

Sample Answer for NURS 6003 Academic Success and Professional Development Plan Part 4: Finalizing the Plan Included After Question

The Assignment:

Complete the following items and incorporate them into the final version of your Academic Success and Professional Development Plan.

  • With the resources specific to the MSN specialization and the, Walden University. (n.d.). Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), shared in this week, write a paragraph or make a Nursing Specialty Comparison table, comparing at least two nursing specialties that include your selected specialization and second-preferred specialization.
  • Write a 2- to 3-paragraph justification statement identifying your reasons for choosing your MSN specialization. Incorporate feedback you received from colleagues in this Week’s Discussion forum.
  • Identify the professional organization related to your chosen specialization for this Assignment, and explain how you can become an active member of this organization.

A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NURS 6003 Academic Success and Professional Development Plan Part 4: Finalizing the Plan

Title: NURS 6003 Academic Success and Professional Development Plan Part 4: Finalizing the Plan

Step 1: Comparison of Nursing Specialties

Use the space below to write 2-3 paragraphs comparing the nursing specialty you have selected – or the one you prefer if your choice is still under consideration –  to your second preference. Identify each specialty and describe the focus and the role that graduates are prepared for. Identify any other differentiators you feel are significant, especially those that helped or may help you reach a decision.

Nursing is a dynamic profession that aims to address health care needs of patients depending on the changes of patterns of disease in a society. In this regard, nurses play a significant role in optimizing quality outcomes for patients regardless of the state of health manifested by individuals (Delaney & Vanderhoef, 2019). Most often, pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing is not an end to a nursing career but it is the path that one can use to specialize in a given area of practice that guarantees quality care to patients. In a similar case, I have enrolled for Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) at Walden University to pursue further interest and knowledge in the specialty of psychiatric-mental health nursing to address the dynamics of healthcare system of the current society (Bingham & O’Brien, 2018). Initially, I hoped to enroll in gerontology nursing but upon guidance and with extensive consultations, I chose psychiatric mental health. PMHNP is a specialty where nurses provide direct care to clients in need of mental health assistance (Ong et al., 2017). Gerontology nursing on the other hand involves the provision of care to older patients in nursing homes or a health facility. 

As for psychiatric-mental health nursing, students are prepared to identify typical vital signs, administer medication, and how to provide ambulatory services to patients with psychological problems (Hastings, Kroposki & Williams, 2017). In addition, nurses in this specialty are trained on wound care and skills on intravenous (IV) therapy as well as competencies on grading comatose patients who need intensive care treatment. On the contrary, gerontology nurses require skills on biopsychosocial factors related to elderly patients, complications of polypharmacy, and analysis of morbidity patterns in old age (Garbrah et al., 2017). In both settings of PMHNP and gerontology nursing, students need skills to address health needs of patients. 

When compared to gerontology, psychiatric-mental health nursing is required in almost all settings of care across the world. In essence, PMHNP would be a better specialty of nursing to study as career prospects in the profession are promising being that one can work anywhere and at any time (Ong et al., 2017). However, despite the imminent and unwavering progression of aging in the present world, fewer nursing students select gerontology as a specialty due to low interest in the area. The reason could partly be due to a lack of interest in providing care at the end of life setting possibly in a nursing home or in a hospice (Garbrah et al., 2017). In this regard, psychiatric-mental health nursing is exciting and provides an avenue where nurses meet patients with different urgent needs as opposed to routine check-ups of elderly patients with degenerative diseases. 

Step 2: Justification of Nursing Specialty

Use the space below to write a paragraph identifying and justifying your reasons for choosing your MSN specialization. Be sure to incorporate any feedback you received from colleagues in this week’s Discussion Forum.

I prefer psychiatric-mental health nursing for MSN specialization to gerontology nursing even though the former requires one to work in a high-stress environment. I find the setting in mental health nursing exciting as one works at every instant to address urgent needs of patients as opposed to care of older patients which can at times be boring due to repeated cases of service delivery (Bingham & O’Brien, 2018). Most of the colleagues I work with have observed keenly my good speed in care delivery and excellent communication skills which can be instrumental in providing urgent care in a mental health setting. Coupled with my good relationship with patients, I have a conviction that an MSN in mental health nursing will help me offer utmost care to clients presented at the psychiatric unit of the health facility. 

I chose the Adult-gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty because  AG-ACNPs often have the opportunity to develop and utilize advanced procedural skills, such as placing central lines or performing specific invasive procedures. I have personal interests, and I prefer to work in an acute care setting. Most importantly, I’m aware of considering the responsibilities, patient population, and setting; it aligns with my professional aspirations.

Step 3: Professional Organizations

Use the space below to identify and examine one professional organization related to your selected or preferred specialty. Explain how you can become a member of this organization.

My specialty area in the MSN program operates under the umbrella of American Psychiatric Nurse Association (APNA) in the United States of America. Founded in 1986, APNA is not meant for profit and is exclusively organized for charitable, educational as well as for scientific purposes (Hastings, Kroposki & Williams, 2017). The professional organization requires that each member must have been a registered nurse and completed a masters of science in nursing with a specialty in psychiatric-mental health nursing (Delaney & Vanderhoef, 2019). Upon completing my MSN program at Walden University, I will seek a state license with APNA so that I receive certification needed for. With the document, I will be able to assume membership with the organization and comply with the financial obligations stipulated in its policy.  


Pursuing degree in nursing may not be an end to studies in the nursing profession. This could be supported by the premise that the patient care strategies continue to change which also necessitate improved care option. As for the case of psychiatric-mental health nursing, an advanced degree will be necessary to optimize care to patients. An MSN will also offer an avenue for a psychiatric-mental health nurse to be registered with the APNA professional body so the one works with a uniform standard for improved care.


Bingham, H., & O’Brien, A. J. (2018). Educational intervention to decrease stigmatizing attitudes of undergraduate nurses towards people with mental illness. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing27(1), 311-319.

Delaney, K. R., & Vanderhoef, D. (2019). The psychiatric mental health advanced practice registered nurse workforce: Charting the future. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association25(1), 11-18.

Garbrah, W., Välimäki, T., Palovaara, M., & Kankkunen, P. (2017). Nursing curriculums may hinder a career in gerontological nursing: An integrative review. International Journal of Older People Nursing12(3), e12152.

Hastings, T., Kroposki, M., & Williams, G. (2017). Can completing a mental health nursing course change students’ attitudes?. Issues in mental health nursing38(5), 449-454.

Ong, H. L., Seow, E., Chua, B. Y., Xie, H., Wang, J., Lau, Y. W., … & Subramaniam, M. (2017). Why is psychiatric nursing not the preferred option for nursing students: A cross-sectional study examining pre-nursing and nursing school factors. Nurse education today52, 95-102.


Week 6 | Part 6: Finalizing the Plan

The Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) prepares graduate-level nurses to take on more expanded roles as advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) with diverse specialties. As APRNs, these nurses can offer care to certain health populations based on their areas of specialty that include certified family nurse practitioner with specialization in psychiatric mental health nurse practice, geriatrics nurse or pediatric nurse among others (Brennan, 2020). The purpose of this section is to evaluate the various specialties within the family nurse practice (FNP) under the MSN program and select a preferred specialty and compare it to another one. The paper also justifies the chosen specialty and describes a professional organizations related to the choice.

Step 1: Comparison of Nursing Specialty

The selected specialty under family nurse practitioner is psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). The specialty focuses on providing psychiatric services to patients with different mental health issues. PMHNPs help providers to offer mental health services to different patient populations. Mental health issues continue to be a core public concern and the PMHNPs have a duty to fill this gap by providing necessary care interventions. The stigma associated with mental health conditions discourages millions from seeking mental health services. The current pressure means that more people will require mental health services (Estes, 2019). PMHNPs can diagnose diseases, and assess a patient’s condition to recommend the most appropriate remedies. PMHNPs should use their professional background and advanced skills and abilities to change the misconception and prevent mental health.

The second option is being a general family nurse practitioner whose role is to offer care to families and individual members of such entities. The main role of family nurse practitioners

(FNPs) is offer high quality and integrative care to patients across the lifespan in various settings. FNP translate research into evidence-based practice to offer better care for individuals, families and even health population. FNPs focus on primary care interventions. As family nurse practitioner, one can practice independently or as part or healthcare team.

Justification for Nursing Specialty

The increasing demand for mental and psychological services mean that more providers are needed to offer mental health services. The selection of this choice is based on the need to close the gap due to limited number of mental health practitioners against a surging demand among various population segments (Brennan, 2020). Again, this specialty allows one to enhance their nursing knowledge through advanced education. Through this specialty, one can help individuals who cannot access care due to stigma and few cases of those seeking medical and psychological interventions.

Professional Organizations

The most appropriate professional organization linked to psychiatric nursing is the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA). With over 15,000 members, APNA remains one of the largest healthcare organization in the United State. Becoming a member of this association requires one to subscribe to it based on their individual application. Membership to the organization is essential for PMHNP to get access to research information and findings as well as be part of a professional entity.


The MSN provides nurses with the ability to practice independently based on the scope of practice within their states. As illustrated by the evaluation, nurses have a duty to protect their specialties and provide better care to patients. As such, the specialty of psychiatric nurse offers opportunity for one to enhance care and provide evidence-based practice (EBP) in their healthcare settings.


My chosen specialty is Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP). According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP, 2019), PMHNP assesses, diagnoses, and treats the mental health needs of patients. The duty of PMHNP is to provide therapy and prescribe medications to patients suffering from mental health disorders and problems with substance abuse. The role of PMHNPs extends to providing physical and psychosocial assessments, emergency psychiatric care, and assessing the effectiveness of treatment plans (Faubion, 2022).

The second preferred NP specialty is adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP). The role of AGPCNP is to assess, diagnose, and plan health needs of patients across lifespan from 13 years to old age. AGPCNPs deliver a wide range of acute, chronic, and preventive services to patients. Their roles include obtaining medical histories, perform physical examinations, order tests, interpret diagnostic tests, and deliver pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments to people across life-span. AGPCNPs work in a range of healthcare settings including long-term care settings, hospital-based clinics, and private settings (AANP, 2020).

AGPCNPs and PMHNPs differ in the scope of practice. While AGPCNPs assess and manage common acute and chronic conditions for adults in primary care settings. On the contrary PMHNPs are focused on psychiatric mental health issues for patients across the lifespan. The most common focus areas for AGPCNP are primary care settings, geriatrics, and oncology. Conversely, PMHNPs focus on mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and drug abuse. The practice settings for ACPCNPs include outpatient clinic, and hospital inpatient units, who PMHNPs will work mostly in mental health clinics and community health settings (AANP, 2019).


American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2019). Are You Considering a Career as          Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner? Are You Considering a Career as         Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner? (

American Association of Nurse Practitioners. (2020). Are You Considering a Career as an Adult-     Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner? Are You Considering a Career as an      Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner? (

Faubion D. (2022). What is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP)?

Advanced nursing education students through their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program should specialize in different areas as future nurse practitioners with the aim of dealing with a specific population or healthcare need. These specialties can include being a family nurse practitioner (FNP), a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) and geriatric nurse practitioner among others. specialization allows nurses to fulfill their career objectives and attain more knowledge and skills to meet the increasingly diverse patient care needs aside from becoming experts in those areas. As such, after a consideration of various specialty options for specialty, including my analysis of the preferred specialty and a second option, I present my findings and the justification of these choices. I have also examined a professional organization linked to my selected and preferred specialty and the requirements that one needs to meet to become a member. This section of the plan presents these findings.

Step 1: Comparison of Nursing Specialties

My selected and preferred specialty is psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). I have selected this specialty because of the increasing need for mental health care services as mental health becomes an integral part of holistic care provision. Further, my preference for this specialty arises also from the desire to assist others attain better mental health and deal with comorbidities as well as risk factors for mental health conditions. PMHNPs play a critical part in enhancing mental health services and access, particularly now when many individuals are dealing with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic compounded by the opioid epidemic. PMHNPs work in different areas that comprise of general health facilities as well as specialty care settings. Through these settings, the offer care to different populations; right from the elderly to adults and adolescents with mental health issues. They can also work in law enforcement areas and the criminal justice system (Oleck, 2021). Becoming a PMHNP will enable me to bridge the current gap in care provision between demand and availability. Many people do not access health services for mental health because of lack of resources and accessibility (Tierney, 2020). I will use my professional experience and background to change misconception and demonstrate the importance of mental health to all who require it.

The second specialty is being an informatics nurse who integrates science and information and analytical sciences with the aim of identifying, defining, managing and communicating patient health information. Informatics nurses help in designing and implementation of health information technologies like patient portals, electronic health records (EHRs) and clinical decision support to health their entities meet the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Interoperability Programs (Meaningful Use) to enhance efficiency, quality of care, and patient safety. Informatics is becoming a core component of effective care delivery for practitioners and organizations as it allows them to understand patient better through effective data documentation.

Step 2: Justification of Nursing Specialty

According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioner (AANP) (2022), PMHNPs assess, diagnose, and treat mental health needs of patients. The specialty enables patients to access therapeutic interventions and medications to help deal with mental disorders and substance use issues. The justification for this specialty is the need to help others attain optimal mental health and increase access to these critical services. The current mental health situation requires providers to develop better approaches and incorporate patient needs as a way of ensuring that they have holistic care. Today, many individuals lack information on the type of mental health services that they can get from providers (Pearson, 2018). Therefore, my desire is to help bridge this gap, offer community awareness about the negative effects of ignoring the condition and how individuals can access resources. Through the specialty, I will offer better services and enhance adherence to medications and therapeutic interventions to attain better outcomes.

Step 3: Professional Organizations

PMHNPs are professionals who need to be members of professional associations to help them grow their career and network with others on the specialty. Consequently, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) (2022) is a professional organization whose membership constitute psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners. The primary aim of this professional organization is to promote and empower psychiatric mental health NPs to attain career goals and professional development. The organization enables its over 13,000 members to network and have access to clinical research content and findings to help them improve care provision.

The organization encourages members to embrace lifelong learning, pursue research studies and remain committed to their professional development and career progression while ensuring that they offer quality patient care. The organization allows established and emerging as well as prospective mental health nurses to attain better skills and competences through its training programs, workshops, annual conferences, and effective networking opportunities (APNA, 2022). The members of the organization build communities based on collaborations and increased networking opportunities. One needs to meet the requirements of being a psychiatric NP and fill the requisite forms to become a member of the organization.


The MSN program enables nursing student to specialize and become experts so that they can improve the quality of care they provide to patients. These specialties like the PMHNP offers a chance to bridge existing gaps in care provision for patients and providers. Choosing this specialty allows one to offer mental health services among the deserving populations and meet their needs while expanding their professional experience and expertise.


American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) (2022). Are You Considering a

Career as Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner?

American Psychiatric Nurses Association (2021). About the American Psychiatric

Nurses Association: An Introduction. Retrieved from

Pearson, G. S. (2018). Thoughts from the American psychiatric nursing association        health policy summit. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association,

            24(3), 185-186.

Oleck, L. G. (2021). Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses: Activating Our Voices—Who We

Are, What We Do, What We Need. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 27(6), 507-508. DOI: 10.1177/10783903211054853.

Tierney, M. (2020). Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses: Revolutionizing Access to

Person-Centered Care. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 26(6), 595-597. DOI: 10.1177/1078390320965245.