Alumni providing care across populations

Learn more about graduates of the UAB School of Nursing's Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty.
UAB School of Nursing alumni are providing care mental health care across the state and country, improving access to care and working to combat the mental health care shortage.

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Shelley Lauterbach, MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at Children’s of Alabama

UAB School of Nursing alumna Shelley Lauterbach, MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, realized her interest in psychiatric/ mental health care as a student in the UAB Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) program. During her psychiatric clinical rotation, she decided to pursue a career that could create access to care in a population in tremendous need of health care providers.

Her UAB SON education provided the framework to achieve her goals.

“Faculty at UAB SON takes a committed approach to providing a comprehensive, rigorous didactic curriculum across the lifespan, and that prepared me for success upon entry into practice,” said Lauterbach. “I was assisted with clinical placements in the outpatient, inpatient and emergency room setting, including a semester of pediatric clinicals that scaffolded preparation for my current position at Children’s.”

Lauterbach, a 2017 graduate of the PMHNP-BC program, is a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Children’s of Alabama and the co-director of the School’s child/ adolescent psychiatric nurse practitioner residency program at Children’s. This partnership between UAB SON and Children’s will help patients, recent graduates and the community, Lauterbach said.

“This residency is a wonderful opportunity for new graduates, who may feel they desire additional training and exposure. It’s a wonderful thing for our community, as it facilitates an increase in the number of providers in our community — and our country — at a time when the waiting list to see a pediatric psychiatric provider can be daunting. This is UAB SON making a difference for our students, as well as our community. I’m so proud to be part of it.”

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Lauren Roberts, MSN, CRNP, PMHNP-BC

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Birmingham VA Medical Center

When UAB School of Nursing alumna Lauren Roberts chose to pursue the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty, it was with the goal to be an active voice in her patients’ treatment plans. The degree was a way to utilize her nursing knowledge to its fullest potential.

“In my career, I wanted to be a critical thinker and lifelong learner; I didn’t want my primary goal to be carrying out the orders of superiors. This degree and the UAB School of Nursing faculty encouraged me to think in a holistic manner, rather than in silos,” said Roberts. “Faculty also took the extra time to discuss patients and scenarios with me. They made sure my papers had plenty of red ink on them, and therefore showed me where I needed to grow. I always felt like they wanted my participation, and I was able to ask question after question in order to seek my fullest potential.”

Before graduating in 2017, Roberts was part of the School’s VANAP-GE program, a joint effort between UAB School of Nursing and the Birmingham VA Medical Center. The program offers PMHNP students clinical experience focused on the psychiatric care of veterans.

Roberts, who now works at the Birmingham VA, said the program helped connect her with preceptors. 

“Having the direct clinical experience at the Birmingham VA set up the path for my current work with the VA. I appreciated having the guidance of faculty and a chance to solidify my career path before graduating,” Roberts said.

Roberts was also an honors student and recognized as Outstanding MSN Student within the PMHNP specialty in 2017.

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Tiffany Waller, CRNP, RN, PMHNP

Nurse Practitioner at Grayson & Associates

Tiffany Waller, a 2014 graduate of the Psychiatric/ Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty, felt called to work in mental health since she was an undergraduate at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“I worked as a mental health associate for a local hospital’s inpatient psychiatric department during my BSN studies at UAB and began to see firsthand the need for more mental health RNs as well as providers,” said Waller. “Like most, I have family members that have been affected by a mental health condition, and I believed I could help fill the mental health provider gap in this country by furthering my education as a nurse practitioner.”

Waller is a nurse practitioner at Grayson & Associates in Homewood, where she sees pediatric, adolescent, and adult patients. She specializes in ADHD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and psychotic disorders, and focuses on patient and family education in regard to treatment and management of mental health disorders.

UAB SON prepared her for her career through a varied selection of preceptors, multiple opportunities for clinical rotations and exposure to both inpatient and outpatient settings. This opportunity allowed her to determine which patient populations suited her best, and simulations allowed for her to synthesize the information and tools she learned in prior semesters.

“I feel that the UAB PMHNP specialty is on the leading edge of mental health education because of the technology utilized throughout the two-year program, the onsite clinical experiences and the individualized support students receive,” Waller said. “Becoming a PMHNP was a goal for many years for me, and for the past two years in my clinical practice, I have felt highly equipped to provide mental health services for patients because of the education and support I received from the PMHNP faculty.” 

Last modified on March 22, 2019

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