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Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency Program (MH NPR)

The Montana VA Healthcare System is pleased to announce the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Academic Affiliations has awarded our facility three positions for Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency (MH NPR) Program for a 2023-24 cohort.

This OAA training program is a comprehensive one-year program during which time trainees have 100% protected time to master skills and transition from the academic to professional environment in a supportive education-oriented environment. The program provides an intensive clinical experience supplemented by professional development activities resulting in skillfully prepared psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners providing the highest level of mental health care. Graduates will be prepared to practice anywhere in the state of Montana.

Program objectives

  • Successfully transition the PMHNP resident from advanced beginner to competent nurse practitioner
  • Recruit well-qualified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner residents with the intention of retaining them following completion of their residency programs
  • Enhance inter-professional collaboration and educational opportunities for PMHNP residents
  • Enhance the partnerships between VAMTHCS and university PMHNP affiliates
  • Improve the quality of mental health services for Veterans
  • Strengthen the commitment to nursing as a professional career choice
  • Facilitate dedication to life-long learning and use of evidence-based nursing practice

Application process

Thank you for your interest in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Residency Program in Helena, MT. This residency is designed for new nurse practitioners with a commitment to serve the Veteran population. The program prepares new NPs to become confident and competent specialty care providers by providing didactic seminars, supervised and independent clinical practice, specialty rotations, leadership training, inter-professional simulations, and tele mental health experience during the 12-month period. Upon completion of this program graduates will receive a Residency Completion Certificate. Our program will support a total of three residents each year. Follow the Application Link to VA Form 2850D HERE

Residency eligibility

  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Graduate of Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accredited psychiatric nurse practitioner program
  • Recent graduate from a PMHNP program within the past 12 months
  • Hold a masters or doctorate degree with a specialty in Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English
  • Completion of each of the following: drug screen, background investigation, lab and physical exam, tuberculosis skin testing, flu shot, Hep B titer

Application requirements

  • Completed PMHNP Residency application
  • A Letter of Interest (no more than two double-spaced pages to include but not limited to the following): Your three most important professional goals - A discussion of your experience with a variety of patient populations—for example veterans, vulnerable, underserved, or elderly populations - How your career goals align with the PMHNP role and with furthering the profession
  • Curriculum vitae/resume to include each of the following in this order:
    • Education
    • Work experience
    • Research & publications (if applicable)
    • Leadership service
    • Life experiences
    • Professional memberships
    • Awards/honors
  • “Unofficial” nursing school transcripts (Official transcripts are required upon graduation)
  • A copy of recent BLS
  • A copy of APRN License (not required with application but required prior to beginning residency)
  • A copy of PMHNP Board-Certification (not required with application but required prior to beginning residency)
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation*
    • One (1) letter from an academic instructor
    • One (1) letter from a preceptor (a different person from the above-mentioned academic instructor)
    • One (1) letter from an employer or co-worker

* Content in each letter should include the nature of the work relationship with the candidate, the candidate’s work performance, the candidate’s interpersonal skills, and any strengths/ talents the candidate would bring to the residency program.

Application Dates

Application Opens:

Now for 2024 Spring and Fall cohorts

Application Deadline:

Spring cohort - Dec 15, 2023

Fall cohort - Mar 15, 2024


Spring cohort - Dec 18-21, 2023

Fall cohort - Mar 18-21, 2024

Program Start Date:

Spring cohort – Mar 25,  2024

Fall cohort – Sep 16, 2024

Letters of Acceptance will be e-mailed/mailed by:

Spring cohort - Dec 22, 2023  

Fall cohort – Mar 22, 2024


Early submission is highly recommended.

For eligible candidates, in person or virtual interviews with VA faculty will be scheduled during April. You will be contacted regarding the specific date and time. The letter will include follow-up instructions regarding completion of the HR process, appointment with individual supervisors, and Mental Health Orientation.

Residency information

VA Montana Health Care System (VAMTHCS) offers an innovative 12-month Post-Graduate PMHNP Residency training. This residency is designed for new nurse practitioners with a commitment to serve the Veteran population. The program prepares new NPs to become confident and competent specialty care providers by providing didactic seminars, Grand Rounds, supervised and independent clinical practice, specialty rotations, leadership training, inter-professional simulations, and Tele-Mental Health training during the 12 months of the residency.

Didactic seminars

Residents will attend didactic seminars one day per week. Topics may include: TBI Poly Trauma Assessment and Treatment, Suicide Prevention, Evidence Based Treatment for PTSD, Human Patient Simulation Learning Experiences, Dual Diagnoses: PTSD & SUD, Cognitive Assessment of Dementia, Military Cultural Awareness, LGBTQ Veterans and Treatment, Pharmacology of Substances of Abuse: Uppers, Downers, and How to Interpret Drug Tests, Prolonged Exposure Therapy(PE), Experience of Racism as a MH Issue, Care of older adults with multiple complex psychiatric disorders, etc.

Inter-Professional Journal Club

Residents from different mental health disciplines meet once a week to build inter-professional collaboration by sharing topics relevant to their practice and their own clinical interests.


Clinical rotations may include Outpatient Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Emergency Psychiatry (Access & Crisis Team), Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison, Primary Care/Mental Health Integration Clinic, PTSD Clinic, Intensive Community Mental Health, and Homeless Outreach Program.

Valuable benefits include

Residents in our program are considered federal trainees with a competitive salary and benefit package. Salary is based on the current year’s allocation rate. In addition, residents accrue annual/sick leave (time off) and other benefits listed below:

  • Competitive pay 12-month stipend (expected 2023 rate $77,796)
  • 40-hour dayshift work week (no nights, weekends or holidays required)
  • 100% protected time (not part of staffing matrix on unit)
  • No commitment to the VA after residency program completed
  • Insurance – multiple options are available for medical. Per current federal regulations temporary employees (health professions trainees) are not eligible for vision, dental, federal medical leave act (FMLA) or paid parental leave
  • Sick and Annual Leave – 1 hours of sick Leave for every 20 hours in pay status. Annual leave accrued at rate of 1 hour for every 20 hours in pay status for those with less than 3 years of federal service

More information

For more information, contact the Post-Baccalaureate Registered Nurse Residency team at:

Michael Spinelli, MD - Designated Education Officer

Richard Schulz DNP, MBA/HCM, RN, PMHNP-BC – Program Director

Roxanne Ore - Administrative Officer