Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency receives accreditation

Photo of the Birmingham East VA Clinic

By Laura Gasque

The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing has received accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education for its Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency with the Birmingham VA Health Care System. The residency’s goal is to train more nurse practitioners to address the mental health needs of a growing Veteran population.

UABSON Instructor and Co-Director of the PMHNP Specialty Track Brenda Mayfield, DNP, CRNP, PMHNP-BC (MSN 2018, DNP 2022), said the accreditation will elevate the program on a national level and make it even more competitive. Currently, the one-year residency accepts applicants from across the country for the three available resident slots. Residents receive training through clinical experiences and didactic classroom instruction in an interprofessional environment.

“I think there’s a growing recognition of the value of residencies for nurse practitioners,” Mayfield said. “Residencies provide many opportunities, including a safety net for practice, increasing levels of responsibility over time for the NP, and an opportunity for mentors to benefit from the didactic content presented for the mentees learning.”

The MHNP residency includes a salary and benefits, as well as the opportunity to experience every facet of Veteran-centric mental health care within the Birmingham VA Health Care System.

“Our residency is unique and draws its strength from the close partnership we have with the VA,” Mayfield said. “This is a Veterans-centric focused residency, and it prepares mental health nurse practitioners to care for the complex needs of our Veterans.”

“The VA-UAB Partnership is robust, and we are focused on educating the current and future nursing workforce to provide safe, quality care to our Veterans,” said Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships Michele Talley, PhD, ACNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN (MSN 2005, PhD 2015). “Our partnership has received several accolades over the years and achieving accreditation is, so far, the pinnacle of its success and a testament to the dedication of the faculty, staff and residents involved.”

Mayfield said the residents have presented on a national level at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Conference every year since the program started. As proof of the quality of the program, the MHNP residency is now run by graduates of the program, including Mayfield.

“It has literally come full circle,” Mayfield said. “I’m grateful to get to be a part of it. I’m so proud of all the residents. They have always exceeded the bar, and it’s pretty impressive what they accomplish.”

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