Promoted content

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

The County of Santa Cruz job header
(The County of Santa Cruz)


SALARY: $159,598 - $179,483 annually, plus incentive pay*


Bilingual (English/Spanish) Candidates Encouraged to Apply

JOB DESCRIPTION: 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. The list established from this recruitment will be used to fill current and future positions during the life of the eligible list.


Requirements: Any combination of training and experience which would provide the required knowledges and abilities is qualifying. A typical way to obtain these knowledges and abilities is:

  • 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:

  • 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.

NOTE: Candidates licensed in another state and/or students in their final year of Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner training may participate in the recruitment/examination process; however, proof of all the above-mentioned, required certificates/licensure must be provided at the start of employment.

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.


  • 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; and lift objects weighing up to 20 pounds.


  • *Sign-on bonus - Initial payment of 50% within 30 days of start date. Remaining 50% of payment upon completion of one calendar year of service.
  • ANNUAL LEAVE - 22 days first year, increasing to 37 days after 15 years of service. Available for vacation and/or sick leave.
  • HOLIDAYS - 14 paid holidays per year.
  • BEREAVEMENT LEAVE – 3 days paid in California, 5 days paid out-of-state.
  • MEDICAL PLAN - The County contracts with CalPERS for a variety of medical plans. For most plans, County contributions pay a majority of the premiums for employees and eligible dependents.
  • DENTAL PLAN - County pays for employee and eligible dependent coverage.
  • VISION PLAN - County pays for employee coverage. Employee may purchase eligible dependent coverage.
  • RETIREMENT - Pension formula 2% at age 60 or 2% at age 62 as determined based on provisions of the CA Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (PEPRA). Pension benefit determined by final average compensation of three years. County participates in Social Security.
  • LIFE INSURANCE - County paid $20,000 term policy. Employee may purchase additional life insurance.
  • DISABILITY INSURANCE - Employees in the General Representation Unit participate in the State Disability Insurance (SDI) program. This program is funded 100% by employee payroll deductions.
  • DEPENDENT-CARE PLAN - Employees who make contributions for child or dependent care may elect to have their contributions made utilizing “pre-tax dollars.”
  • H-CARE PLAN - Employees who pay a County medical premium may elect this pre-tax program.
  • HEALTH CARE FLEXIBLE SPENDING ALLOWANCE (HCFSA) - Employees may elect this pre-tax program to cover qualifying health care expenses.
  • DEFERRED COMPENSATION - A deferred compensation plan is available to employees.


Examination: Your application and supplemental questionnaire will be reviewed to determine if you have met the education, experience, training and/or licensing requirements as stated on the job announcement. If you meet these criteria and are one of the best qualified, you may be required to compete in any combination of written, oral and/or performance examinations or a competitive evaluation of training and experience as described on your application and supplemental questionnaire. You must pass all components of the examination to be placed on the eligible list. The examination may be eliminated if there are ten or fewer qualified applicants. If the eligible list is established without the administration of the announced examination, the life of the eligible list will be six months and your overall score will be based upon an evaluation of your application and supplemental questionnaire. If during those six months it is necessary to administer another examination for this job class, you will be invited to take the examination to remain on the eligible list.

HOW TO APPLY: To apply online, visit this link; or print out an application and supplemental questionnaire and mail/bring them to: Santa Cruz County Personnel Department, 701 Ocean Street, Room 510, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060. For information, call (831) 454-2600. Hearing Impaired TDD/TTY: 711.

Applications will meet the final filing date if received in one of the following ways:

  • In the Personnel Department by 5:00 p.m. on the final filing date
  • Submitted online before midnight of the final filing date.

Women, minorities and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. If you have a disability that requires test accommodation, please call (831) 454-2600.

To comply with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, Santa Cruz County verifies that all new employees are either U.S. citizens or persons authorized to work in the U.S.

Note: The provisions of this bulletin do not constitute an expressed or implied contract.