The psychiatric-mental health (PMH) nursing workforce is aging with more than half of registered nurses (RNs) and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) being in their 50s or 60s, according to findings from the APNA Workforce Task Force’s survey. Kathleen Delaney, PhD, APRN, PMH-NP, FAAN, presented the findings at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 36th Annual Conference held October 19 to 22, 2022, in Long Beach, California.

“The future of our profession, at least for the foreseeable future, is outlined here and we need to take heed,” said APNA President Leslie G. Oleck, MSN, PMHNP-BC, PMHCNS-BC, LMFT, during the meeting.

Survey Demographics

The survey was disseminated between October 21, 2020 and February 22, 2021 to PMH-APRNs and PMH-RNs who were in the APNA database and/or certified by American Nurses Credentialing Center, explained Dr Delaney who is a professor at Rush University College of Nursing.

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A total of 8652 PMHs completed the survey; 5158 PMH-APRNs and 3494 PMH-RNs. The mean age of the PMH-APRNs respondents was 54.1 years and more than half were in their 50s or 60s. More than one-quarter of APRNs (27%) said they plan to retire in the next 6 years. The vast majority (88%) reported their gender as female, 10% as male, and 0.44% as either nonbinary or transgender. The majority of PMH-APRNs identify as White (84%) and 10% identified as Black or African American.

The PMH-RN workforce is aging similarly to the PMH-APRN workforce. The average age of respondents is 51 years, with more than half in their 50s and 60s. The survey noted that the smallest age group of PHM-RNs were in their 20s (4%). The PMH-RN workforce has a slightly different racial/ethnic and gender than the APRN workforce, with more Black or African American nurses and a greater proportion of multiracial and male nurses.

Survey Findings for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

The average total pretax income for PMH-APRNs was $136,000. Nearly half of respondents (47%) had a salary in the $100,000-$150,000 range. Lower salaries ($75,000-$99,000) were reported by 13% of respondents and higher salaries ($150,000-200,000) were reported by 11%. A higher percentage of men were in the upper income brackets of $150,000 to $200,000 and $200,000+. Salaries did not differ by race. The majority of respondents reported a 40-hour work week.

 “These data are in line with the AANP (2021) survey that place PMH-NPs as the highest paid group of NPs by certification (average $136,000 total income),” they study authors noted.

Data on education show that (82%) received an MSN degree as their initial preparation. Approximately 17% hold a DNP as their highest degree and 6% have a PhD degree.

The need for more PMH nurses is emphasized in the report. Key barriers to pursuing this career are that individuals felt they needed prior medical-surgical experience before entering an PMH program and that a faculty member told them they needed such experience prior to becoming a PMHRN, as described in the report.

The report also included survey responses from PMN-RNs. See the full report for more details.


American Psychiatric Nurses Association. APNA 2022 Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Workforce Report. Accessed October 19, 2022.

Gerolamo AM, Delaney KR, Phoenix B, et al. Demographic characteristics and practice profiles of the psychiatric-mental health nursing workforce. Presented at: APNA 36th Annual Conference, October 22, 2022.