California State Mental Health Facilities


Has anyone worked within the State system for Mental Health? How hard is it to obtain a state job? What is the lag time between being eligible and employment (if jobs are available)?

I am moving back to So. Cal from Florida in June of 2010 and would like to work in Psych. I looked into Patton Hospital in San Bernadino and was wondering if anyone could give me any insight on the working conditions or any positive/ negatives that they were aware of. I have lived in So. Cal. for most of my life and would like to stay in the Riverside County/ San Bernadino county area if possible, but any insight on any of the state hosp. would be great.

I will be graduating nursing school in April.

Thanks for your help.



38 Posts

Specializes in Surgical Acute Unit (Bariatrics & Ortho).

It does take awhile to get on the list, the last I heard was somewhere around 2 - 6 weeks. But I was applying for correctional facilities. You stay on the list for a year though, and you don't NEED to have your license to take the exam/self-assessment. So, you could do that now before you graduate, but you won't be able to get a job until you have your active RN.

I have to tell you though, the new grad market here is a beast. There is nothing - especially if you are not local. Most places want a preceptorship on the floor you are applying to. Hospitals are getting 400 new grads applying for 8 slots because no one can find a job.

With the state, you get a score after your exam/self assessment - usually 75, 85, or 95%. The state can only INTERVIEW the top 3 people on the list with the highest scores. As a new grad with a BSN I was at 85. I believe with an AA if might be 75. So again, tough market there too.

If there is anyway that you can stay in Florida for 6 months and work there for your "New Grad" period I would suggest that. Either that or have a new grad job lined up before you move. Start looking now for hospitals that have programs so that you can get your ducks in a row (letters of ref., transcripts, etc.) and then apply for May-August start programs probably Feb/March.


13 Posts

Thanks for the advise. Florida job market isn't much better:cry:. I am going to try to do my preceptorship at an inpatient psych facility here. If I'm offered a position, I'll probably stay her for at least another year. Wish me luck! I'm gonna need it!

Specializes in Family medicine, Cardiology, Spinal Cord Injury. Has 14 years experience.

The State of California is deep in debt and is not hiring at any of the state hospitals. All state employees have to take furlough days to deal with the debt.

My father is Medical Vice Chief of Staff at the Lanterman Development Center in Pomona, CA and has been for over 15 years and he can't even get me a position as a nurse there.

Has 22 years experience.

You might want to look into the County of Riverside's psych hospital. They are always hiring. The pay might not be as much as the State Hospital but it would give you a job/benefits in the meantime. I was hired to work at the County psych hospital with no psych experience but after several weeks decided psych wasn't for me. A very large percentage of the staff was registry...they desperately need RNs there.

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 14 years experience.

That's funny because I applied with county of riverside and said I was willing to work psych and had over 3 years LVN experience including some psych, and never received a call back as far as even an interview. I was under the impression county of Riverside was in a hiring freeze like everyone else....


12 Posts

Can anyone help interested in applying at patton state hospital in california...but im unsure of the application it seems quite confusing...any advice????

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 14 years experience.

You fill out the california state employment application and either mail it in or hand walk it in with your resume/ cover letter.

Then you wait approximately 7 months for a letter in the mail that gives you a date/time interview. I stopped at this step, giving the volatility of the state right now, and the fact you're on a year probation, puts you to be laid off first in the event the budget deficit gets worse.

Also consider that you could get an IOU for a paycheck.

I was a state employee formerly, it's a great job, when the economy is healthy, but given all the cuts, it is not the best place right now.


2 Posts

Lanterman Developmental Center in Pomona, California has announced the intention to close the facility. It means that nurses and other staff will scatter to other state facilities, even with the furloughs and minimum wage paycheck threats. I cannot recommend working for the state at all, or at least while the republicans are leading us down the drain.

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