Counseling for Nurses

Changes in society as well as in the health care system result in increased stress to the population in general and more specifically to health care consumers. Consequently, counseling is often needed for assistance in coping with these changes and stressors. Since nurses are key health care providers throughout the health care system, they can provide this needed counseling with additional knowledge and skills beyond their baccalaureate preparation.

Therefore, this 15-credit program provides an opportunity for nurses working in a variety of settings (hospice, schools, nursing homes, and other community agencies; in-patient and out-patient psychiatric facilities; and general hospitals) and with different age groups (child, adolescent, adult and aged) to increase their learning and skills in counseling individuals, groups, and families. Nurses can help counsel clients and families to promote mental health in resolving losses and other crises, to adjust to and cope with acute and chronic health challenges, and to deal with mental health issues.

Program Objectives

  • Provide counseling to clients based on sound theoretical practice models.
  • Evaluate major models of the therapeutic intervention of counseling and their appropriateness in working with clients in different age groups and various settings along the health-mental health continuum.
  • Integrate group dynamic concepts in providing group leadership and counseling to client groups.
  • Incorporate the understanding of either:
    • theoretical concepts of family process and dynamics in counseling families, or
    • major mental health disorders (assessment, diagnosis, intervention) in counseling clients with mental health problems.
  • Examine ones own values, limitations, and strengths throughout the therapeutic counseling process.
  • Collaborate with professional colleagues and clients in the improvement of mental health care and/or coping with acute or chronic health challenges.

Program of Study

The Advanced Certificate Program in Counseling for Nurses is a 15 credit program and includes the following graduate courses:

  • NSG 558 Paradigms & Perspectives of Advanced Practice Nursing (3 cr) Fall, Spring, Summer I

(Required core for all program areas in the Masters of Nursing)

  • NSG 606* Practice Models in Counseling and/or Psychotherapy for Nurses (3 cr) Fall only
  • NSG 557* Group Processes in Health Care (3 cr) Spring only
  • Choice of:
    • NSG 610* Family Processes (3 cr) Spring only
    • NSG 615* Diagnostic Mental Health Assessment and Interventions (3 cr) Spring only
  • NSG 629 Advanced Certificate Practicum (3 cr) Fall only

(80 hours practicum with on-site preceptor. Students with faculty design their clinical to build on their own expertise in having worked with a particular client population and further develop career goals. Clinical practicum may be conducted in home geographical location.)

*Required courses in psychiatric-mental health Masters of Nursing.

Since the above courses are included in the masters of nursing, students can pursue their studies in the masters psychiatric-mental health nursing track. (Even the 80 hours of practicum can be applied to the total required for the masters.) If students wish to pursue other nursing program areas for the masters, nine credits plus the practicum hours can be applied.

Admission Criteria

  1. Registered nurses with a baccalaureate degree. If the degree is not in nursing, then the required upper department level nursing courses (12 credits maximum) which are comparable to baccalaureate nursing must taken prior to admission.
  2. GPA of baccalaureate program must be at least 2.75 GPA. Probationary admission is possible if GPA lower. Probationary is changed to regular admission if first course taken is at least a B.
  3. Two letters of recommendation.
  4. Career goal statement.