15 Top Psychiatric Nursing Professors

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While many nurses make long and rewarding careers with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing, others choose to further their careers and their education by choosing a nursing specialty. Those nurses who choose to pursue a career as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner do so because they are dedicated to diagnosing, treating, and exercising huge amounts of compassion for people who suffer from mental illness and their families.

In order to pursue this career path, nurses must first obtain advanced education in the field of psychiatric nursing. Many accredited nursing colleges and schools offers psychiatric nursing programs. However, what sets the best programs apart is their nursing faculty.

The psychiatric nurse professors on this list are the best in the country. In addition to teaching at nationally recognized universities, many of them have continued their practice as nursing professionals and regularly seeing patients and teaching courses. The difference that a great professor can make can be profound. From making students interested in otherwise complex material to showing the real world applications of their work on those who are suffering from illness, these professors can make that difference for their students, and for you.

Anita Thompson-Heisterman MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC
University of Virginia

Anita Thompson-Heisterman is an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing in the Family, Community and Mental Health Systems Department. She is also a board certified psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialty and a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Thompson-Heisterman was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Virginia Alumni Association.

Charon Burda MS, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP
University of Maryland

Charon Burda is an Assistant Professor and Specialty Director of the Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience. Her teaching areas include addiction, families in crisis, and the mental health of special populations.

Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Karan Kverno is an Assistant Professor as well as the Director of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. In addition to pursuing her scholarly interest in nursing education, Dr. Kverno is a practicing psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner.

University of Massachussets Amherst

Dr. Genevieve E. Chandler is an Associate Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Nursing. Dr. Chandler has done extensive mentoring work in the course of her career in addition to many published articles across the nursing spectrum. She was also the recipient of the National Education Award from the American Psychiatric Nursing Association in 2008.

Linda Beeber PhD, RN, CS
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Linda Beeber is a Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing where she specializes in Psychiatric-Mental Health nursing. Dr. Beeber's research interests include depression across patient populations. In 2013, she was appointed a Research Navigator at the North Carolina Translation and Clinical Sciences Institute.

Pacific Lutheran University

Dr. Mary D. Moller is an Associate Professor of Nursing at the Pacific Lutheran University School of Nursing, and formerly an Associate Professor of Nursing in the Division of Primary Care at the Yale University School of Nursing. Dr. Moller is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, with dual certification as a clinical specialist in adult psychiatric-mental health nursing and a psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner. In 2012, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

Edilma L. Yearwood PhD, RN, PMHCNS, BC, FAAN
Georgetown University

Dr. Edilma L. Yearwood is a tenured Associate Professor of Nursing at the Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies. She is also the course coordinator and lecturer for the undergraduate Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing program there. In 2014, Dr. Yearwood received the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses Hendrix Lectureship Award. She is also a Clinical Specialist in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing.

Carla J. Groh PhD, RN
University of Detroit Mercy

Dr. Carla J. Groh is a Professor at the McAuley School of Nursing, which is part of the University of Detroit Mercy College of Health Professions. Additionally, she has a certified Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner who offers individual therapy to both men and women. In 2004, she accepted a Fulbright Teach Award and traveled to Iceland where she taught psychiatric and mental health nursing to graduate students. In 2014, Dr. Groh received the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses President's Award.

Merrie Kaas PhD, RN, PMH CNS-BC, FAAN
University of Minnesota

Dr. Merrie Kaas is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing where her teaching interests include geriatric mental health nursing, psychopharmacology, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. Kaas was the 2013 recipient of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Award for Excellence in Education

Michael J. Rice PhD, APRN-NP, FAAN
University of Colorado at Denver

Dr. Michael J. Rice is Professor and Endowed Chair, Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, at University of Colorado, Denver. His additional responsibilities include that of Director of the Primary Integrated Psychiatric Nursing program as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2010, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association awarded Dr. Rice their Nurse Educator Excellence in Education Award and was named Outstanding Teacher at the University of Nebraska Medical Center that same year.

Susan M. Adams PhD, RN, PMHNP, FAANP
Vanderbilt University

Dr. Susan M. Adams is professor as well as the Faculty Scholar for Community Engaged Behavioral Health at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Dr. Adams was the 2008 recipient of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Excellence in Nursing Education award. She has also been a speaker at the Japan Academy of Psychiatric Nurses where she was invited to give their 2009 keynote address on expanding the role of psychiatric and mental health nurses.

Bethany J. Phoenix RN, PhD, CNS, FAAN
University of California - San Francisco

Dr. Bethany J. Phoenix is the Vice Chair and Health Systems Clinical Professor Coordinator of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Specialty at the University of California, San Francisco School of Nursing. In 2009, Dr. Phoenix was the recipient of the Award for Excellence in Education from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. She currently teaches assessment and management of psychiatric symptoms, substance use and metal illness, and group psychotherapy, among other courses.


In order to choose this list of the top psychiatric nursing professors, we referred to some specific criteria. While this is certainly not a comprehensive list of all the great and dedicated psychiatric nursing professors, those on the list do reflect the following criteria.

  1. National Recognition:
    Those involved in academia are encouraged to share their research and knowledge with the world. The professors on this list have earned recognition from their peers with national awards and academic publication of their research.
  2. Accredited University Program:
    There are many nursing schools across the U.S. but not all offer psychiatric nursing programs. Each professor on this list teaches at an accredited nursing school that offers psychiatric nursing training to graduate and undergraduate students.
  3. Professional Association Membership:
    Professional associations allow psychiatric nurses to share the knowledge they gain through teaching, research, and practice. The professors on this list are active members of national and international professional associations in the fields of psychiatric nursing and education.
Barry Franklin

Barry Franklin


Barry is the Editor in Chief of NPS, operated by educational web publisher Sechel Ventures, which he co-owns. When not managing content, Barry sits on the board of a K-8 school, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, children, and dogs.

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