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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency Program

This 12-month post-graduate program provides clinical and academic experience for new graduates transitioning into professional roles as PMHNPs.

The Zablocki VA, in academic partnership with Alverno College-JoAnn McGrath School of Nursing, promotes mentorship and fosters a supportive interprofessional learning environment for providing evidence-based care to our Veteran population.

The PMHNPs will advance from novice to competent psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners while developing competencies in Veterans' health care needs. Through intensive mentored clinical experiences and professional development activities, PMHNPs will be prepared to provide mental health services for the veteran population.

Program Description

  • 32 hours clinical and 8 hours didactic experiences per 40-hour work week.
  • Training domains include:
  1. Professional role development and career management
  2. Clinical assessment and case formulation
  3. Clinical Documentation
  4. Mental Health Treatment, including evidence-based pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, alternative and complimentary approaches
  5. Consultation and interprofessional communication skills
  6. Patient-Centered Cultural Competency (with emphasis on Military and Veteran culture)
  7. Clinical Scholarship, Leadership, and Program Development and Evaluation
  • Clinical rotations on interprofessional teams
  • Integrated and parallel didactic sessions
  • Didactic sessions frequently occur in conjunction with other resident training programs to promote interprofessional learning
  • Clinical rotations include Inpatient Psychiatry, Outpatient Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Emergency Psychiatry (Access & Crisis Team), Psychiatric Consultation, Primary Care/Mental Health Integration Clinic, PTSD Clinic, Tele-MH Clinic, Mental Health Intensive Care Management (MHICM), and Homeless Outreach Program
  • Clinical experiences and didactic topics include Veteran Culture, Military Service, Combat Veterans, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Comorbidities, Military Sexual Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Neurocognitive Disorders, Substance Use Disorders, Depressive Disorders, Bipolar Disorders, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Suicide, TeleMental Health, Women Veterans, Healthcare Leadership, and Quality Improvement
  • Program Director serves as a resource and provides support as residents transition to performing as autonomous PMHNPs
  • A certificate is awarded upon successful completion of the residency
  • Candidates who successfully complete the residency training program will be given the opportunity to apply for available vacancies within the VA system

Facility Spotlight

Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center is a vibrant class 1A VHA Medical Center that provides many health care services to Veterans from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. On the main campus in Milwaukee, there are 196 inpatient care beds (inclusive of 34 mental health beds and spinal cord injury), 113 Community Living Center, 9 Transitional care, and 125 Domiciliary beds. Our facility includes three Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) in Appleton, Union Grove, Cleveland, and a Health Care Center (HCC) in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and all offer MH services. In FY 2018, our inpatient areas admitted approximately 9,000 Veterans (1600 in MH); the outpatient clinics saw over 824,000 Veterans (83,000 in MH); and the CBOCs experienced over 120,000 visits (over 27,000 in MH)

The Zablocki VAMC is located on 245 acres just west of downtown Milwaukee, WI. Originally established in 1867, we are one of the oldest VA sites in the country.


  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Recent graduate (within 12 months) of a master’s or doctoral NP program accredited by CCNE or the ACEN
  • No previous work experience as a licensed advanced practice nurse. This excludes nurse practitioners who have obtained additional post certifications and are seeking residency in their new role
  • Hold national credentialing as PMHNP through ANCC or eligible for ANCC board exam completion within 90 days of employment,
  • Licensure: Current, full, active, and unrestricted registration as a registered nurse in a State, Territory or Commonwealth (e.g., Puerto Rico) of the United States, or the District of Columbia. Current DEA with prescriptive authority/furnishing license (or eligibility to apply for as above),
  • Proficient in written and spoken English
  • Pass a background/security investigation as required by the Veterans Health Administration
  • Pass pre-trainee physical examination
  • Random drug testing may be required
  • COVID vaccination is a requirement for this residency

Compensation and Benefits

  • NP residents are trainees, not employees
  • Resident trainee appointments are for 1 year and 1 day to accrue benefits, including health insurance
  • Benefits (4 hours of sick leave and 4 hours of vacation/annual leave per 2-week pay period)
  • Stipend $78,624 per annum 2022-2023 ($37.80/hour) – determined and funded by the Office of Academic Affiliations 
  • Hiring preference for open positions at any VA on successful completion of the residency program

Application Process

For the cohort starting Summer 2023:

  • Applications accepted through March 31
  • Interviews conducted in April 2023
  • Selections communicated in May
  • Residency begins end of August/beginning of September

Application packet:

  • Cover letter, including why you are interested in this Residency program
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • School Transcript (does not need to be official for application process)
  • Three letters of reference, including one reference from a senior year nursing faculty member
  • Application for Health Professions Trainees (VA Form 10-2850D):

Program Contact

Sarah Garven, MSN, RN, PMHNP-BC

PMHNP Residency Program Director

Office: 414-384-2000 x41650

Cell: 414-331-1428

About VA

“To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” -- Abraham Lincoln

Veterans Health Administration Mission

Honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional health care that improves their health and well-being.

VHA Vision

VHA will continue to be the benchmark of excellence and value in health care and benefits by providing exemplary services that are both patient centered and evidence based.

This care will be delivered by engaged, collaborative teams in an integrated environment that supports learning, discovery, and continuous improvement.

It will emphasize prevention and population health and contribute to the nation's well-being through education, research, and service in National emergencies.