Neurobiology and Differential Diagnosis of Mental Disorders – NURS 751

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 05/30/2022

Course Description

This foundational course focuses on mental disorders across the lifespan. Based on anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology, this course examines underlying causality including injury, trauma, developmental, genetic, infection and disease including degeneration. The relationships to support homeostasis between the body and brain, and within the brain will be explored. This course also integrates the use of case-based learning to approach differential psychiatric diagnoses. Students will gain skills in interviewing, observation, and the use of and interpretation of screening, tools, behavioral assessments and diagnostic tests. Case studies will be based on the most current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM 5) and other appropriate diagnostic tools and methods.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


This PMHNP course helps meet standards of graduate level nursing education as articulated by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials of Doctoral Education for Advanced Practice Nursing. This course meets standards of nurse practitioner education as articulated by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF).

  1. Professional Standards

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006).The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. Washington, D.C. AACN.

American Nurses Association. (2015). Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses: Interpretation and Application. Silver Spring, MA.

American Nurses Association. (2015). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (3rd ed.). Washington, D.C: ANA.

National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties. (2017). Nurse Practitioner Core Competencies Content. Washington, D.C.: NONPF.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.

Neuro Workshop Paper Assignment

This assignment provides the opportunity for the student to select, research, and present from lists of neurological disorders. The student will explore the neurobiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of the assigned topic. The student should submit a 6 – 8-page paper written in current APA format using excellent grammar, spelling, and syntax, and include 4-5 scientific peer-reviewed resources including the text written within the past five years. Paper will consist of title page/ 6 – 8 content pages/reference page(s). Please see the Neuro Workshop Paper Grading Rubric in the course.

Symptom Analysis Evaluation Assignments (2)

The student will write two Symptom Analysis Evaluation (SAE) Assignments based on an assigned case study that focuses on assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan of chronic mental health symptoms. The first SAE assignment will be an individual, while the second is a group. The use of at least five references in APA format is required, which may include the course textbook. Please see Symptom Analysis Grading Rubric in the course.

MS Teams Synchronous Meeting Assignments (3)

The student will prepare five slides for a PowerPoint Presentation to lead a short MS Teams Meeting discussions according to the assigned topic from the Module: Week requirements. The first MS Teams Meeting presentation will be individual, while the remaining two are group assignments. The student will have five minutes to present his or her slides, with an additional 2 – 3 minutes for answering questions. Further discussion can take place as time permits. At least two peer-reviewed or evidence-based references are required for the presentation.

Evidence Based Article Review Assignment

The student will review an evidence-based article based on the assigned module. This assignment will allow the student to gain knowledge in the topic area with the assigned group. This assignment must be at least 3 – 4 pages of content and adhere to the current APA format. A title page and reference page in the current APA format is required. Please see the Evidence Based Article Review Grading Rubric in the course.

Quiz: Mid-term and Final Comprehensive Examinations

Quizzes will be proctored by Proctorio and closed book, no notes or other aids.