Impacting inpatient, outpatient mental health

Alumnus Sargent's passion for mental health led him to help fill a critical void in health care providers
Thomas Sargent, MSN, CRNP, realized his passion for mental health long before deciding to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

During his last semester as a biology student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, he worked at a rehabilitation facility for people with chemical dependencies and drug addictions, specifically adolescents ranging from age 12 to 18.

“It was my favorite job ever,” he said.

Sargent Thomas candidThomas Sargent's passion for mental health led him to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. He is now helping to fill a critical void in mental health care providers in the Huntsville, Alabama, area.After completing his biology degree, he moved to Birmingham and began working at Alabama Clinical Schools, a facility for young men under age 18 struggling with behavioral disorders. 

“Working with young men who have a history of sexually aggressive behavior was hard,” Sargent said. “The job was very stressful, but it opened my eyes to how much our population needs mental health providers. That’s what made my decision to go into nursing clear.”

Sargent began researching ways to become a psychiatric nurse practitioner. He applied to several traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs, but was most attracted to UAB School of Nursing’s Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) program because it would jumpstart his nursing career, enabling him to practice as a registered nurse after one year while pursuing his psychiatric mental health master’s degree requirements.

Upon completion of the program in 2016, Sargent began working for Integrated Behavioral Health in Huntsville, Alabama, where he serves in both outpatient and hospital settings. 

“I immediately inherited 250 patients who were without a mental health care provider,” he said. “Even now, my schedule is full every day with new patients who have been waiting for months to be seen.”

Sargent is helping to fill a critical void in mental health care providers.

“Alabama’s shortage of mental health care providers is staggering. The adolescent and adult patients I see in the hospital have often been struggling to find a provider for a long time, and they have reached their last resort of attempting suicide,” he said.

Between his biology degree and his advanced practice nursing education, Sargent feels like he is a step ahead of other colleagues in similar phases of their careers.
Read 7827 times Last modified on July 14, 2021

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