Demand for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (Psych NPs) in Virginia

The demand for behavioral health services skyrocketed in recent years in Virginia – and the nation – and shows no signs of subsiding.

Virginia’s behavioral health workforce was stretched before the pandemic. Now, behavioral health professionals across the Commonwealth are overwhelmed. Virginians are going months before an appointment is available—not just those who are uninsured or living in underserved areas. And, the need for services is expected to continue to outpace the workforce in the coming decade.

 

 

“We are in dire need of psychiatric mental health providers in the Harrisonburg-Rockingham area, where I live and work.”

-Erin Morris, RN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC
Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board
VHCF Psych NP Scholarship Recipient

 

 

  • Most Virginia localities are federally-designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas (MHPSA) (91%; 121 localities) and 61% of Virginians live in these communities.
  • Many localities have no psychiatrist or Psych NP (54 and 51 localities, respectively). Moreover, 35 localities are withouta “prescriber” at all and an additional 25 have only 1 prescriber.
  • Many “prescribers” – Psychiatrists and Psych NPs trained and licensed to prescribe and manage psychotropic medicines, critical to treat many mental health conditions – are near retirement age. The double-whammy of prescribers’ age and distribution in the Commonwealth is particularly troubling when thinking about the future.


Work as a Psych NP

Psych NPs are in great demand. There are job opportunities all across the state in a wide range of settings (behavioral health practices, outpatient medical practices, university counseling centers, hospitals, Veterans’ Affairs facilities, substance abuse programs, public mental health agencies, residential treatment programs).

  • In October 2022, there were 74 Psych NP job postings in Virginia on Indeed.com (compared to 35 in August 2017).
  • The average salary for Psych NP jobs in Virginia posted on Indeed.com is $142,672.

VCHF Psych NP Scholarships Can Help!

The Virginia Health Care Foundation provides scholarships for NPs interested in obtaining a post-Master’s Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Psych NP) Certificate. For scholarship information, click here.

Interested? Questions?  Email VHCF’s Program Manager: PsychNP@vhcf.org.

Last Updated on October 6, 2022