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Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Residency Program (PCNPR)

This 12-month post-graduate program offers clinical and academic exposure to recent graduates transitioning into professional roles as Nurse Practitioners. In collaboration with the University of California Davis School of Nursing, Northern California VA Healthcare System emphasizes mentorship and cultivates a supportive interprofessional learning environment. The goal is to deliver evidence-based care to our Veteran population. The residency program is conducted across three VA training facilities: Mather, McClellan, and Stockton. We have the capacity to accept up to 3 residents each year.

Program mission

The mission of the residency is to prepare novice NPs to work as independent practitioners within the VA HCS. Residents will be provided the opportunity to accelerate their growth beyond entry-level professional competence in patient-centered care, operational services, and leadership skills that can be applied to address the complex needs of the Veteran population in any practice setting.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Statement 

As a healthcare system, Northern California VA, along with its training programs, is committed to fostering a learning environment that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable for all trainees and staff. This includes individuals who identify with one or more groups that are underrepresented in the health professions. Our goal is to actively recruit and retain trainees and faculty from diverse backgrounds, promoting an environment that consistently values, honors, and respects the identities of others. This commitment is upheld through ongoing dedicated training and continuous improvement of systems.

Program goals

The overarching goal of the residency program is to provide newly graduated, licensed, and board-certified NPs a foundation for a practice embedded with scientific knowledge, clinical expertise, and professionalism. The residency program hopes to recruit, educate, and retain NPs to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare services and accessibility for Veterans.

Expected program outcomes

  1. Integrate evidence-based knowledge and clinical excellence in advanced practice nursing while caring for the Veteran population. 
  2. Develop the role of the independent advanced practice nurse with a commitment to excellence and quality outcomes. 
  3. Train residents in a model of Veteran-centric care that is compassionate, valued, and effective in promoting health and preventing illness. 
  4. Increase the confidence of residents in new role as independent practitioner. 
  5. Develop collaborative skills through interprofessional relationships and team-based care approaches.

Curriculum overview

The VA is dedicated to enhancing the care provided to the nation's Veterans and is investing in innovative programs to improve training for healthcare providers. The primary objective of the residency is to contribute to optimal care for our Veterans by providing comprehensive, evidence-based educational processes and activities designed for successful implementation throughout the year. Structured around four curricular anchor themes, the residency encompasses:

  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) role development 
  • Interprofessional collaboration
  • Systems improvement and leadership
  • Self-reflective practice

The above four curricular anchor themes are the framework for the overarching program goals and are unique to our Residency training curriculum. Advanced clinical education of the PC NP has yet to be a part of the fabric of VA training, historically. Therefore, it is important to scaffold the residency objectives, starting with the individual and leading to systems-level impact. Throughout the year, the residency will do the following to meet the curricular goals:

  1. Provide didactic and experiential learning opportunities in conjunction with UCD. 
  2. Engage with interprofessional colleagues and build collaborative experiences in workplace-based environments to build competency and focus on team-based care. 
  3. Provide opportunities to impact systems and build leadership through focused evidence-based practice experiences and a capstone project. 
  4. Engage learners in mentored self-reflective practice and critical reflection to build a culture of self-awareness of lifelong learning. 
  5. Contribute to building and supporting the ongoing scholarship and quality improvement culture within advanced practice nursing. 

Clinical experience overview

Under the clinical supervision of faculty NPs and MDs, residents will provide care via face-to-face, video, and phone to Veterans onsite at Mather,  McClellan or Stockton. The following list is an example of clinical offerings (may change at any time depending on faculty availability):

  • Primary Care
  • Women’s Health
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Gerontology

Each resident will rotate through multiple settings, providing a comprehensive experience to prepare the graduate to work and lead in a complex healthcare environment. Below are the rotation types, examples of clinical settings, and the approximate number of hours in each setting.

Continuity Clinic: designed to give the resident an opportunity for long-term panel management. NP residents will manage the primary care of approximately 200 patients, conduct routine follow-up, new patient, telephone and video-based care, and urgent care visits. The resident will spend the largest block of time in this clinic. 

  • Clinic examples: Primary Care
  • Number of hours per week: approximately 10-20
  • Number of weeks: 52

Specialty Blocks: designed to help residents gain more confidence in specialty exams, interpreting labs and understanding when it is appropriate to refer.

  • Clinic Examples: Women’s Health, Gerontology, Environmental Exposure, Mental Health, Orthopedics
  • Number of hours per week: approximately 5-10
  • Number of months: 1-3

Applicant Qualifications

  • Must be a U.S. Citizen or naturalized U.S. Citizen
  • Must have graduated from an advanced practice Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP or Family NP program within the 12 months preceding the residency start date. 
  • The residency must be your first position serving as an NP in the same specialty as the program’s focus 
  • ANCC or AANP board exam completion within 90 days of employment 
  • Have current, full, active, and unrestricted registration as a Registered Nurse in a State, Territory or Commonwealth (i.e., Puerto Rico) of the United States, or the District of Columbia, before program start 
  • Nurse practitioner state licensure with prescriptive/furnishing license and DEA number must be obtained within 90 days of program state date 
  • Current BLS certification
  • Proficient in written and spoken English 
  • Completion of the following by program start: security/professional background investigation as required by the VA, pre-employment health screening, tuberculosis skin testing, up-to-date vaccinations for healthcare workers as recommended by the CDC and VA or applicable waiver according to VA policy, and possible random drug testing

Application requirements

  • Curriculum vitae 
  • Graduate school transcripts 
  • Application Packet which includes:
    • VA Form 10-2850d Health Professions Trainee Data Collection Form
    • Signed Eligibility Checklist
    • Three (3) letters of recommendation (structured form to be filled out by recommender) submitted directly from letter authors. Please do not submit more than three letters.
      • One from a faculty member of your graduate program
      • One from a clinical preceptor
      • One from an employer/supervisor/coworker that can speak to your abilities as an advanced practice provider 

Please attach all documents and send to: V21MACPACTPCNPR@VA.GOV 

Stipend and benefits 

  • Stipend: $90,532 (as of AY 2023)
  • Salary is paid by the VA OAA and rates may change depending on the current year allocation rate
  • A comprehensive benefits package that includes paid vacation, sick leave, paid holidays, and health benefits
  • Hiring preference for open positions upon successful completion of the residency
  • Active and ongoing professional development, which includes recruitment into open positions in VANCHCS and other VA facilities

Apply today!

Application deadline: March 1st

Residency Start: October

Submission: Be sure to complete all requested information and do not leave questions unanswered.

Please complete the checklist and send the completed application electronically to V21MACPACTPCNPR@VA.GOV 

*Please have letters of recommendation emailed directly from the authors


For more information, please get in touch with the Program Director:

Michaela Gist DNP, APRN, FNP-C

Program Director

VA Northern California health care


Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is the difference between commencement and conferral?

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. 

Why is this important?

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.

What is the 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. The Office of Academic Affiliations (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.