Partners in mental health care

Children’s and School of Nursing come together for mental health residency

childrens adolescent webBy Erica Techo

The UAB School of Nursing and Children’s of Alabama are partnering on a new one-year residency for recent Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner graduates to meet the growing need for mental health care providers for children and adolescents in the state.

“Children’s needs more practitioners to cover the volume of patients we have in psychiatry. The demand for services far exceeds our capacity, and how to meet this need has been an ongoing discussion,” said Children’s of Alabama Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Deb Wesley, MSN, RN, a 1986 alumna of the School’s Master of Science in Nursing program. “This residency is an example of the power of the partnership between Children’s and the UAB School of Nursing, and the impact, working together, we can have on children and families in Alabama.”

The residency has two main goals — improving the quality and quantity of clinical experience for both new Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner graduates and current students, as well as increasing access to care, said the School’s PMHNP Specialty Track Coordinator and Residency Program Co-Director Simone Durand, MSN, MS, CRNP, PMHNP-BC. Improving experiences for new NP graduates means they are more likely to transition to the demands of practice with increased competency.

Residents spend a year mentored by Durand and Children’s of Alabama Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Residency Program Co-Director Shelley Lauterbach, MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, a 2017 alumna of the School’s PMHNP MSN specialty track, while seeing patients. They receive enhanced interprofessional practice experience, working with psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists, pharmacists and case managers, even better preparing to address child and adolescent mental health needs once the residency is complete.

Because appointment availability at Children’s is expanded by the residents, that means additional learning opportunities for the School’s MSN students.

“This enables Children’s to increase the quality of care provided and number of kids they care for, and that provides more training at multiple levels of care for students in our MSN program so that we can continue the pipeline of providers into the future,” Durand said.

A cultural focus on improving mental health has led to this greater demand for psychiatric care for young patients, but the number of providers with a mental health focus has been limited.

“With this residency and the new Psychiatric Intake Response Center program, which directs families toward mental health care resources at Children’s, we’re connecting the dots between the need and the resource, and the final part, which is creating the provider pipeline that we need,” Lauterbach said.

This residency stands out on the national stage, with few academic-practice partnerships in nursing providing this type of collaboration and even fewer focusing on adolescent and child mental health.

“UAB is on the leading edge of successful academic-practice partnerships and in addressing the need for mental health care treatment for children and their families,” said Professor and Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships Cynthia Selleck, PhD, RN, FAAN. “This residency speaks to our School’s dedication to continuous improvement of education and practice quality to positively impact the patients and families we serve.”

Read 973 times Last modified on December 26, 2018

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