Mental Health Nurse Training | VA Puget Sound Healthcare

The VA Puget Sound Health Care System (VAPSHCS) Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency (MH-NPR) program develops highly qualified professionals who provide superior care to veterans.

Application deadline: May 1, 2023

ideal candidate

Our mental health nurse training is highly recommended and seeks academic excellence. The ideal candidate has the aptitude to thrive in an environment that:

  • Collaborative teamwork among professionals,
  • patient-centered, team-based clinical care method,
  • excellent interpersonal communication skills and
  • A passion for providing quality mental health care to veterans within federal medical centers.

eligibility requirements

This training program is intended for graduates who do not have work experience as a mental health nurse. The eligibility requirements before and during this stay are:

  • Commitment to a one-year full residency program
  • Ability to work at VA medical centers in both Seattle and American Lakes
  • Freshly graduated from an accredited master’s, post-master’s, or doctoral level nursing program within 12 months of the start date of training
  • Be accredited as a psychiatric/mental health nurse by an AANP or ANCC accredited agency prior to starting the program
  • An unrestricted APRN license valid in a U.S. state, federal, territory, or District of Columbia prior to the program start date
  • A valid unrestricted RN license in any US State, Federal, Territory, or District of Columbia
  • Earn and maintain BLS Healthcare Provider Certification from the American Heart Association
  • Maintain evidence or self-certification of up-to-date vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and VA for healthcare workers
  • Provide evidence of tuberculosis screening or testing recommended by CDC health care provider guidelines
  • Possession of two acceptable and valid IDs that meet VA requirements for identity verification of PIV credentials
  • Pass a screening against the Department of Health and Human Services Exclusion Individuals and Entities List (LEIE)
  • be a U.S. citizen


This residency is a paid position. The annual amount is set by the VA Academic Associations Authority (OAA). Other benefits include:

  • Eligible for full-time VA Paid Trainee Benefits, Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) Healthcare (, and some medical plans offer limited dental coverage
  • 4 hours of annual leave and 4 hours of sick leave every other week
  • 11 days of paid federal leave
  • No weekends, on-call or night shifts

How to apply

Questions and complete application packages can be emailed to

application package

Applications should be sent as an email with an attachment. Attachment types can be Word or Adobe PDF and can be packaged inside a ZIP file. The application package requirements are:

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV). It includes the following information:
  • Education including degree completion date
  • Graduate Clinical Rotation
  • Relevant work experience, including start and end dates
  • If applicable, please also include an explanation for any gaps of 3 months or more in your employment history.
  • educational activities
  • Academic activities such as research and quality improvement projects
  • volunteer work
  • Include a statement if you are a Health Professional Scholarship Program (HPSP) recipient
  • Mental Health Nurse Program Transcript
  • 3 professional references (see below for details)
  • 1-2 Academic
  • 1-2 managers/supervisors (or clinical preceptors) in nursing or other recent place of employment
  • Two letters of recommendation from a nursing faculty member and clinician, or a recently hired supervisor or manager
  • Essay answers (see question below)

essay question

Your essay answer to the following questions should be one paragraph, preferably no more than 300 words each. Here are the questions:

  • What professional, educational, or clinical experience led you to choose a mental health nurse career? Please comment on how you support
  • What are your aspirations for your training program? What goals do you want to achieve during your stay at VA?
  • Describe your qualities and strengths that contribute positively to this interprofessional training experience. Please be specific.

professional references

Please provide the following information for at least three references: By doing so, you consent to us contacting them.

  • name
  • professional relationship
  • Date of establishment
  • work address
  • email address
  • telephone number

Program details

We use a care team model with interprofessional patient coordination. We work with the following medical professionals:

  • psychology
  • pharmacy
  • social enterprise
  • Nurse
  • Other hospital specialties

Our training programs facilitate the growth and transition of residents into independent practice through:

  • clinical supervision,
  • longitudinal guidance,
  • leadership opportunities,
  • academic quality improvement projects, and
  • Continuous feedback through a one-year training program.

Nursing Practitioner Residents participate in a variety of educational sessions throughout the year, including:

  • monthly interprofessional lessons,
  • Monthly Journal Club on PTSD and other mental health conditions,
  • joint care conferences, and
  • A trainee led a quality improvement project.

program contact

Program director:

Sarah Frankel, DNP, PMHNP-BC
Mental Health Nurse Training Program Director

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