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Nursing Training, Residency, and Fellowship Programs



We at The University of Texas Harris County Psychiatric Center (UTHCPC) subscribe to the core values of the nurse/patient relationship, mutual respect for our colleagues, and highly competent, compassionate care.

The UTHCPC nurse is an important member of the treatment team. Your experience is acknowledged through your exchange with the psychiatry staff as we go about designing and implementing our patient care model.

Visit Nursing website and view jobs onlineYour personal benefits from employment with UTHCPC include a stable work environment, excellent compensation and benefits package and the opportunity to work with some of the most respected professionals in the mental health care arena. Living and working in the Houston area is an exciting experience, where many cultural, educational, recreational opportunities abound.

We hope you will continue to explore your future with us. We are the model and leader in Texas for the provision of mental health care services. We set high standards for ourselves and the members of our team. Won't you join us?

Patient care

Patient Care - High quality patient care is UTHCPC's trademark. As a psychiatric nurse at UTHCPC, you will serve as a case manager, patient advocate, educator and clinician. You will play a dynamic role in patient treatment and recovery as a key member of a multidisciplinary treatment team. During daily rounds, you will work with the psychiatric physician, social worker, student trainees and others to ensure that your patients are receiving optimum care.


As a nurse, your career development is important to The UT Harris County Psychiatric Center. All employees are eligible for tuition reimbursement after completing the 120-day probationary period. You may also take advantage of nursing seminars, staff development programs and other educational experiences. You will also work with a number of students - nursing, medical, pastoral care - and others, in an effort to provide them practical experience before their graduation.

Nursing Internship

The UT Harris County Psychiatric Center is the only hospital offering a psychiatric nursing internship in the Houston area.

UTHCPC provides the extensive internship for all the newly graduated nurses it hires and strongly recommends the program to nurses new to the mental health field. After all, psychiatric nursing demands something extra from its practitioners because psychiatric nurses are both physical and psychological caregivers.

Job candidates have to submit a job application and be hired before becoming eligible to participate in the psychiatric nursing internship.

The user-friendly internship program helps participants, either nursing school graduates or experienced nurses, transition to a psychiatric hospital setting. Participants receive valuable hands-on experience with supervision to help them learn how to work as a psychiatric staff nurse and an opportunity to hone their teamwork and management skills.

Internship participants spend the first two weeks becoming familiar with UTHCPC and learning the theoretical framework that underpins mental health nursing. They learn about their role in mental healthcare, such as how to develop a therapeutic nurse-patient relationship and how to structure a "milieu" or environment that is conducive to healing.

The next few weeks are spent learning about the various mental disorders, their symptoms, diagnoses, possible causes, treatments and possible outcomes. The nurses learn to evaluate and set goals for their work with each patient. And then they learn the names and uses of numerous medications used to treat mental illness.

Another week is given to the ubiquitous paper work psychiatric nurses face, from court orders and admission papers to discharge orders. Psychiatric nurses must be fully knowledgeable about all the federal and state laws and medical and professional regulations regarding the treatment of persons with mental illness, in addition to regular nursing standards and codes of ethics.

The final four weeks of the internship allow the nurses to put it all into practice. They rotate through adult, child and adolescent units and work all three shifts with a specific staff nurse. They also observe a mental health hearing at Probate Court #3, located at UTHCPC. Finally the interns rotate to the unit where they are to be assigned permanently. They are paired with an experienced staff nurse who becomes a preceptor, mentor, coach and co-worker. Each day the interns and their preceptors meet and establish the goals they will accomplish that day.

Because psychiatry is not a "predictable" medical service, this hands-on experience is vital to training new psychiatric nurses. Mental health consumers are individuals and their needs change daily, and the only way to learn milieu management, flexibility and creativity in treatment is by performing care-giving tasks. Students are often fearful that they won't know the right way to talk to patients. They can see how others do it, but the only way to learn is to practice and have someone there to help them if they need assistance.

The most important attributes psychiatric nurses need are empathy, a caring and therapeutic attitude, listening skills and patience. Nurses can only learn to use those attributes if they have the chance to work with persons with mental illness.

Psychiatric nursing often requires communication and people management skills not normally associated with nursing. It demands high level decision-making skills and innovative thinking. The psychiatric nurse's job is to interact with patients, not just as a byproduct of taking care of them, but in order to take care of them. The nurse at UTHCPC is an integral part of a treatment team and has as much input as the psychiatrist, social worker, or psychologist in the planning and implementing of the patient's treatment.



2800 South MacGregor Way Houston, Texas 77021 phone: 713-741-5000 fax: 713-741-5939

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Updated: 09/06

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