Simmons chosen to direct Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program

By Tatum Lyles Flick
Communications Specialist

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Megan Simmons

Assistant Professor Megan Simmons, DNP’13, PMC’13, MSN’05, has been named academic director for the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, effective August 1. 

“Megan is an experienced psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner and has been increasingly active in leadership for the PMHNP program. She knows the needs of patients, students, faculty and providers,” said Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Mavis Schorn, PhD, FACNM, FNAP, FAAN. “Her experience, knowledge and skills in the psychiatric-mental health field will strengthen the program’s future.” 

Simmons has almost two decades of clinical experience in psychiatric-mental health, including serving in long-term care facilities providing psychiatric assessment and medication management services.  

Over the course of her career, she worked for Psych-Services, Psychological Services and Volunteer Behavioral Healthcare Services as an adult psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.  

She joined VUSN in 2013, where she is an assistant professor in the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. She is also an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and practices as a PMNHP in the Memory and Aging Clinic.  

Simmons is also a key member of the PMHNP team supporting VUSN’s $1.92 million Behavioral Health Workforce Education Training Program grant funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.  

Simmons holds an MSN in adult psychiatric mental health nursing, a Post-Master’s Certificate in family psychiatric mental health nursing and a DNP in psychiatric mental health nursing. She is a member of the American Nurses Association, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, Tennessee Nurses Association and Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association. In addition, she was named the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association’s Inaugural Rising Star and received the March of Dimes Middle Tennessee Behavioral Health Nurse of the Year Award. She served as previous vice chair and is a current member of the Vanderbilt HS3 IRB committee. 

Her current research interests include geriatric psychopharmacology, mental health care of older adults and long-term care residents, and treating behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. 

Simmons succeeds Assistant Professor Marci Zsamboky, DNP’18, PMC’17, who is stepping down at the end of the summer to move closer to her family in Pennsylvania.