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Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Distance Program

OHSU's PMHNP Distance Program – Increasing Workforce in Eastern Oregon

Increasing the NEOAHEC Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) workforce in eastern Oregon continues to be a priority through a partnership between NEOAHEC and the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) PMHNP distance education program based in La Grande. This place-based learning opportunity gives learners the flexibility to learn from home with the majority of clinical experiences in the region.

A PMHNP is an advanced practice nurse qualified to diagnose and treat patients experiencing mental health challenges. OHSU offers this graduate-level program designed to prepare students to provide psychotherapy and psychopharmacology to patients of all ages in a wide variety of settings. As people in rural areas have increased difficulty obtaining education without moving away from their communities, this distance program allows students to complete almost their entire course load virtually.

Scholarships for PMHNP students in eastern Oregon will be available after the new year through an endowment established with the OHSU Foundation by NEOAHEC and the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO). Please contact Meredith Lair at mlair@neoahec.org for more information.

Discover Your Role

  • Regionally driven distance learning for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners
  • Access to tuition assistance & loan forgiveness
  • In demand job market

Scholarships for PMHNP students in Eastern Oregon available through an endowment established with the OHSU Foundation by NEOAHEC and the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization (EOCCO)

Please contact Meredith Lair at mlair@neoahec.org for more information!

Student Story: Darren Ramcharan

Darren Ramcharan, originally from Hermiston, completed the PMHNP Distance Program in June of 2023. When he first applied to OHSU, he was unaware of the distance option, and was going to have a difficult journey ahead of him, possibly needing to move to complete his degree. However, when he was accepted into the program, NEOAHEC sent him a postcard with information about a scholarship for the distance option. He was awarded the scholarship with the stipulation that he would practice in a rural area.

While Darren was participating in the program, he and his wife had two children, both of whom were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. These diagnoses require significant medical care, and the commute from Pendleton to Tri-Cities and Portland was overwhelming. Because of this, his family had to move to Salem. Despite this move, Darren was able to find a way to continue to practice with an underserved population at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility.

People like Darren are why NEOAHEC is committed to providing healthcare education resources to all students, regardless of their situation. Even though Darren’s pathway to becoming the health care professional he wanted to be didn’t lead him back to eastern Oregon, his success is a great example of his passion for caring for underserved communities and his connection to the ‘grow our own mission’ of NEOAHEC.

Student Story: Jacki Russell

My name is Jacki Russell, and I am in my final year of the PMHNP program. I am located in Wallowa County, which is a geographically isolated, frontier community in northeast Oregon. The distance option for the PMHNP program opened up when I was in the final year of my undergraduate nursing program and that option, along with the HOW TO scholarship, created a window of opportunity for me to continue my education and help address an area of need in my community. With a large family that is rooted in my community, relocation for a three-year period was not an option.

Additionally, with multiple children transitioning from high school to college in recent years, scholarship funding to support my own educational goals has made this journey possible for me and my family. When I applied to the program, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have found the hybrid model of virtual learning with a blend of both in-person and telehealth clinical experiences to be both effective and manageable with thoughtful expectations around timing and frequency of travel.

Last spring, I completed a clinical rotation in a Psychiatric Emergency Department in a busy urban setting, which was intimidating initially. However, immersion in an acute care setting with resources not generally available in rural areas provided an incredibly rich learning experience that increased my knowledge and confidence in working with acutely ill patients and individuals experiencing mental health crises that I know will be of benefit to my future practice. The DNP program is rigorous and can be demanding at times, but it is well worth the investment and attainable by distance even for those of us in the most remote locations!

OHSU PMHNP Program Website