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DEFINITION Under direction, performs mental health evaluations including psycho-social assessments of individuals, establishes psychiatric diagnosis; orders and evaluates diagnostic tests; formulates treatment plans and manages follow-up care; and performs other work as required.

Distinguishing Characteristics

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is a highly skilled practitioner who has advanced education and clinical training in the diagnosis and management of patient mental health and emotional disorders. Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners must practice in collaboration with a psychiatrist and responsibilities include providing complete psychiatric assessments which may include physical assessments and examinations, psychiatric diagnosis, providing medical supervision and psychotropic medication management as treatment of both chronic and episodic psychiatric disorders. The Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners differs from Nurse Practitioners in that the former has completed an advance practice graduate education program in the assessment and management of psychiatric conditions and are able to perform primary outpatient, diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitation, and support services for a wide variety of mental health individuals with complex chronic and acute psycho-social conditions, under the supervision of a physician licensed by the California Board of Medicine.

Typical Tasks


  • Performs comprehensive psychiatric and physical evaluations including mental health status examinations, assesses current and past history of violence, suicidal or self-harm behavior, substance use/abuse, level of functioning, health behaviors, trauma, sexual behaviors, multigenerational family assessment and social and developmental history to identify the nature of the individuals’ illness and establish diagnosis; 
  • Performs mental health services, including crisis intervention, and coordinates mental and physical health services for clients with serious mental illness and/or co-occurring physical disorders;
  •  Plans a program of care, in collaboration with physicians, other medical professionals, clients and families; recommends and arranges for hospital admission of individuals; coordinates and facilitates referrals; assumes ongoing responsibility for follow-up care;
  •  Furnishes psychotropic medications under the supervision of a staff psychiatrist and in accordance with standardized procedures; monitors individuals’ response(s) to medication; and educates individuals and members of their support system;
  • Evaluates and interprets findings of relevant mental health diagnostic and laboratory tests;
  • Reviews charts; record, document and maintain accurate records of assessments, evaluations, nursing/medical care administered, patient response, and follow-ups;
  • Teaches and counsels individuals and families’ information and skills necessary to maintain or improve mental health; advocates for the promotion of good physical and mental health;
  • Collaborates with multidisciplinary team to deliver coordinated patient care;
  • May assist in training and provide direction to other nursing staff;
  • May assist in updating clinic protocols or standardized procedures;
  • Serves in departmental and related committees as requested; attend meetings; 
  • May input, access and analyze data using a computer; 
  • May provide vacation and illness relief for other staff.

Employment Standards



Thorough knowledge of:

  • Principles and methods of psychiatry;
  • Laws and regulations governing Nurse Practitioner scope of practice;
  • Advanced principles, practices and techniques of professional nursing, psychiatric; assessment, diagnosis, treatment, documentation and follow-up of common mental disorders. 

Working knowledge of:

  • Causes and treatment of mental and emotional illness;
  • Medical aspects of psychological problems; psychosocial behaviors in illness;
  • Diagnostic protocols; sterile techniques and infection control;
  • Routine diagnostic and treatment techniques used in practicing psychiatry;
  • Medicare and Medi-Cal regulations;
  • Psycho education methodologies to work with individuals one-on-one or in groups;
  • Reporting laws on domestic violence, child and elder abuse, and neglect;
  • Individual and group psychotherapy;
  • Current developments in the field of psychiatry;
  • Mental health services, organization and procedures;
  • Principles and applications of clinical psychology, psychiatric work and various rehabilitative services;
  • Principles, practices and procedures used to detect, diagnose and treat common health problems;
  • Medication and drugs commonly prescribed, including medications therapeutic effect, side effects, reactions and contraindications;
  • Control and care of chronic and communicable disease, illness and handicapping conditions;
  • Normal and abnormal values of laboratory tests and their clinical significance;
  • Medical laws and regulations and the ethics of patient care;
  • Basic interviewing and counseling techniques.

Ability to:

  • Perform mental health and physical assessments including ordering, interpreting and evaluating diagnostic tests and examinations;
  •  Perform comprehensive mutigenerational family assessments;
  • Work effectively as a team member in the delivery of mental health care services; perform collaboration consultation with staff psychiatrists for more complicated psychiatric problems.
  • Identify medical problems and psychiatric disorders; develop and implement treatment plans;
  • Safely administer medications including psychotropic drugs; monitor and record patient’s medication usage and results;
  • Perform job duties under stressful conditions, analyze crisis situations accurately and take effective action;
  • Educate individuals and family members about mental health and medical conditions, preventive health measure, medications or treatment plans;
  • Remain knowledgeable and proficient in mental health practices through readings, research, professional organizations, academic training, and participation in direct patient services;
  • Develop and maintain effective workings relationships with individuals, staff, other health care professionals and community groups and organizations;
  •  Adapt quickly and appropriately to a variety of situations and personalities;
  • Demonstrate tact, diplomacy and compassion to individuals and groups;
  • Communicate effectively both orally and in writing;
  • Lift objects weighing up to 20 pounds.

 Education and Experience:

Any combination of education and experience which would provide the required knowledge and abilities is qualifying, unless otherwise specified. A typical way to obtain these knowledge and abilities would be:

  •   Possession of a master’s degree in nursing, master’s degree in a clinical field related to nursing, or a graduate degree in nursing.

Special Requirements/Conditions: ·

Completion of a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program.

  • Possession and maintenance of a valid license to practice as a Registered Nurse issued by the California Board of Registered Nursing. 
  • Possession and maintenance of a valid Nurse Practitioner Certificate issued by the California Board of Registered Nursing. 
  • Possession and maintenance of a valid Nurse Practitioner Furnishing Certificate issued by the California Board of Registered Nursing (Furnishing Certificate enables a Nurse Practitioner to administer and/or order medications).
  •  Possession and maintenance of a valid Controlled Substance Registration Certificate – Schedules II – V issued by Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) (Controlled Substance Registration Certification [DEA #]) enables a Nurse Practitioner the ability to order level II – V controlled substance medications). · Possession and maintenance of a valid California C driver license or the ability to provide suitable transportation which is approved by the appointing authority

Background Investigation: Fingerprinting is required.

Environmental Factors: Exposure to odors, blood and other bodily fluids, communicable diseases, hostile or violent individuals, exposure to noise and people yelling; and may be exposed to cigarette smoke.

Hours: Availability to work a flexible schedule, if needed.



Bargaining Unit: 41

EEOC Job Category: 02

Occupational Grouping: 57

Workers Comp Code: 0290

CLASS: PJ5; EST: 2/1/2016; REV: 4/1/2016;