DSH - Atascadero: Internships - Registered Nurse Rotation

Department of State Hospitals (DSH) - Atascadero is a maximum security forensic facility. Therefore, emphasis is placed on teaching students to maintain personal safety, relationship security and therapeutic boundaries.

In addition to routine clinical experience, select students are annually chosen to complete a post-clinical preceptorship program at DSH - Atascadero.  This is a fully supervised assignment that affords students the opportunity to function more independently while meeting more advanced clinical goals and objectives prior to graduation.

DSH - Atascadero provides a half-day orientation and tour program to nursing students and faculty from Cuesta College (San Luis Obispo), Allan Hancock College (Santa Maria), and Santa Barbara Business College (Santa Barbara). 

Contact Information:

To schedule a tour or request additional information, please contact:

Kathy Miller RN
Nurse Instructor
Department of State Hospitals - Atascadero
P.O. Box 7001
Atascadero, CA 93423-7001

Phone:  (805) 468-2641
e-mail: KMILLER@ash.dsh.ca.gov
Fax (805) 468-3080.


Philosophy and Treatment Goals of the Nurse Rotational Program Treatment Goals:

While working directly with their nurse preceptor, students will:

  • Identify theories and methods used at DSH - Atascadero while observing and participating in various therapeutic groups and activities
  • Participate in the change of shift report and other staff conferences that relate to patients
  • Utilize therapeutic communication principles while promoting and/or establishing a therapeutic environment
  • Explore the role of the Psychiatric Nurse relative to the treatment team and identify the roles of the interdisciplinary team members and their relationship with the patient
  • Utilize the Nursing Process in the care of patients with mental disorders
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop a therapeutic alliance while maintaining appropriate boundaries

Minimum Qualifications and Expectations of Students Entering Program:

  • Students applying for preceptorship at DSH- Atascadero should have completed all academic requirements for their nursing degree at an accredited institution with only preceptor hours remaining
  • The student must have approval from their school to utilize DSH - Atascadero for preceptor hours
  • All applicants must be cleared by security prior to beginning preceptor hours

How to Apply:

Contact Kathy Miller (see contact information above) for clearance form and arrange for orientation and tour if desired.

Internship Details:

Facility Type: State forensic psychiatric hospital

Client Types: State forensic psychiatric hospital

Client Ages: Young adult, middle-aged adult, and older adult

Environment: About the Area

Status: Active