Skip to Content

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner residency program

This twelve month post-graduate psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) residency program track at VA Long Beach Healthcare System (VALBHS) provides didactics and clinical experience in both outpatient and inpatient and settings to enhance knowledge and confidence in the first year of practice. PMHNP residency program is supported and funded by the National VA Office of Academic Affiliations (VA OAA).

This is a 12 month paid residency program that combines clinical experience (80%) and didactic training (20%). PMHNP residents will be exposed to residency sites in community, ambulatory, and inpatient specialty rotations, providing a well-rounded exposure to veteran care and evidenced based treatment. Didactic education is provided weekly within the residency program. All the VA OAA PMHNP residency leaders collaborate regularly to advance the residencies in line with the VA mission and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accreditation (CCNE) guidelines. 

PMHNP residency program track mission statement 

The PMHNP residency program will prepare the next generation of PMHNPs to practice along the continuum of care from community to ambulatory and tertiary settings. Residents will align with psychiatry, psychology, nursing, social work, pharmacy, internal medicine, geriatric and family nurse practitioner residents and fellows at multiple sites for a true multidisciplinary experience. They will grow with their colleagues and develop relationships that will support their practice in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner professional role. They will be given the tools they need to provide our veterans with cutting edge diagnosis and treatment with personalized care. This program will enhance the Veterans Administration mission to provide excellent, evidence-based care to our nation’s heroes in the 21st century.

Program description

  • The PMHNP residency program (the residency) is a 12 month long program, with a fall start in September. 
  • Residents will rotate through the sites within VALBHS and may include our five Community-Based Outpatient Clinics at Santa Ana, Santa Fe Springs, Laguna, Placentia and Cabrillo. 
  • Clinical rotations offered: Outpatient General Mental Health, Addiction Recovery Treatment, Primary Care-Mental Health Integration, Mental Health Intensive Case Management, Neuromodulation Clinic & Interventional Psychiatry, rTMS, ketamine, ECT, Stellate ganglion block, Psychosocial Rehabilitation & Recovery Clinic

Program structure

  • 80% experiential learning rotating through various clinical settings 
  • 20% Integrated and specialty clinical didactic sessions including clinical presentations, grand rounds, case studies, journal club, and interprofessional reflection group 
  • Structured progression of clinical experiences supporting competency development from novice to competent provider 
  • Clinical supervision throughout the program 
  • Completion and dissemination of a QI/PI or research project

NP resident eligibility

  • Citizen of the United States with proficiency in written and spoken English 
  • Recent graduate (within 12 months) of master's or doctoral level NP program in the same specialty area as the program’s focus accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) 
  • Current, full, active, and unrestricted registration as a nurse practitioner in a state, commonwealth or territory of the United States, or the District of Columbia, prior to the start of the NP Residency program 
  • Current NP furnishing license is required if applicable in state of licensure 
  • Current board certification in the same specialty area as the program’s focus, OR proof of pending application to sit for board certification testing prior to August 1st (all residents must receive board certification within 90 days of program start date to continue in the program) 
  • Applicants cannot have worked as an NP in the field in which they are applying 
  • A current unencumbered RN license in a state, territory or commonwealth of the United States or the District is required 
  • DEA registration schedule II through V required within 90 days of program start date ▪ Current BLS certification 
  • A minimum graduate school GPA of 3.5 is preferred 
  • Applicants must be available to start mid-September, with the exact start date to be announced to selected applicants 
  • Completion of the following by program start date:
    1. Security/professional background investigation as required by VA 2
    2. Pre-employment health screening 3
    3. Tuberculosis skin testing 4
    4. Up-to-date vaccinations for healthcare workers as recommended by CDC and VA or applicable waiver according to VA policy 5
    5. Possible random drug testing 
    6. Declaration for Federal Employment (OF 306)

Am I eligible?

Selection process

Applicants are reviewed by the selection committee and rated by pre-determined criteria. The strongest applicants will be invited to interview. Position offers will be extended by email as soon as committee consensus is reached, approximately mid-May. Once an offer is made, applicants will be asked to accept or decline. Positions may be held for 72 hours but we ask you notify us of a decision as soon as feasible. Final applicants must complete additional federal application documents and undergo eligibility verification. Candidates that are not offered a position may be added to the waitlist.

Salary and benefits

Health insurance, dental, vision, 10 paid federal holidays , 4 hours of annual leave and 4 hours of sick leave accrued each bi-weekly. Option for direct hire upon successful completion of the residency at any VA with posted job vacancies. The salary and benefit package is defined by VA Office of Academic Affiliations (VA OAA ).

Frequently asked questions

May I apply if I have not graduated yet?

Yes, we accept applications from students who will graduate, obtain their NP license, and test for their national certification by August 1.

What is the difference between commencement and conferral? Why is this important?

Commencement is when you walk across the stage with your fellows and celebrate your academic achievement. This typically occurs a week or two after your last day of class/finals. Conferral is the day your school has officially awarded you your degree. Depending on this institution, this can be several weeks after your commencement.

Your degree must be conferred before the residency start date. Every school has a different timeline for when they will validate your degree. Some schools on quarter systems have degree conferrals four times a year, whereas others may have them two or three times a year. To start the residency, the school must have awarded your degree, and you must be able to prove this via an official transcript. Please confirm with your school when your degree will be conferred.

Will I need to have my license and board certification by the start date?

We understand that some new grads may need more time between their graduation and the residency start date to receive their authorization to test for boards. They may still be waiting for their state board of nursing to issue their license after passing boards. Residents who find themselves in this situation could receive a 90-day waiver. 

This waiver allows residents to start the residency while waiting to complete components of their certification/licensure process. Should a resident fail to attain either of these items, their participation in the residency will be terminated at the end of the 90 days. VA OAA does not grant extensions to these waivers. Therefore, we suggest you take your test as soon as possible; if you fail, you will have enough time to retest.

Am I guaranteed employment with VA at completion of the program?

No, but one of our top priorities is to prepare our NP residents for VA employment. Program participation does not guarantee employment, but we have had great success placing many graduates of our program. We will help graduates find and navigate how to apply for any open VA positions.

As a current VA RN, can I stay employed and do the residency?

No. As a current VA employee, you may apply but to become a resident trainee, you will have to resign your VA position during the residency. Further, VA training year does not count towards your VA employee work years, seniority, or retirement.

As a VA RN soon to be NP, does the residency help me get hired at VA as an NP?

As a former employee who completes the residency, you are not guaranteed a VA position upon completion. You will have one year of pertinent VA NP primary care experience and a chance to experience various VA NP roles. We are happy to report that several former VA employee resident graduates have secured VA NP positions.

Can I count the residency as VA National Nursing Education Imitative (NNEI) scholarship payback time?

No. The residency is a trainee stipend position, not VA employment. If you are an NNEI scholar with an obligation, you may apply for and if selected, participate in the residency, but your payback time would start after residency completion.

Do you have other start dates?

We only offer the one fall start date.

Can I work during the residency?

Moonlighting is discouraged as it tends to diminish the learning experience. The residency offers a competitive stipend, including benefits, to enable residents to focus on the training. Rest, leisure time, exercise, and self-study are encouraged after hours for a balanced start to your new career.

For more information 

Other VA residency sites can be located on the Nursing Education - Office of Academic Affiliations (  webpage.

PMHNP residency candidates 

PMHNP resident program track is seeking knowledgeable, empathetic new PMHNP graduates within the past year to participate in the residency program, who have not practiced as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner previously. Please contact the program director with any questions and submit application material as outlined to the program director. 

How to apply 

  • Confirm eligibility for VA appointment with the National Practitioner Data Bank.
  • Confirm exclusion from the no hire list at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
  • The application period is from March 15th - April 30th. 
  • Please email the program director a single PDF application packet 
    • order of PDF application packet: 
      1. Curriculum vitae (please research the differences from a resume) 
      2. Personal Statement: Include pertinent background, particular qualifications you bring to the program (e.g., primary care, geriatrics, mental health, and vulnerable populations work experience, teaching experience, military, and Veteran experience), short-term and five-year professional goals, and how you plan to utilize this training (maximum 500 words). 
      3. Unofficial or official graduate school transcript 
      4. Application (VA Form 10-2850D)



Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Residency Program Director

VA Long Beach health care

Phone: 562-826-8000-1 ext. 4321