Category Archives: Behavioral Health

NP Week 2017—Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight on Ade Ogunmokun

November 12-18 is National Nurse Practitioner Week, designated to recognize the contributions of nurse practitioners across the United States. This year, we are highlighting Ade Ogunmokun, one of Consilium’s partnering locum tenens psychiatric nurse practitioners.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and use the hashtag #ThankAnNP to highlight a nurse practitioner who has made a difference in your life.

At the beginning of Ade Ogunmokun’s career, she was working as a certified nursing assistant but was uncertain about her long-term plans. It was the guidance of other nursing professionals at each new step of her career—coupled with a natural curiosity and true empathy for her patients—that eventually led her to earn an associate degree, bachelor’s degree, and finally, her master’s and a license as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PNP).

“When I first got into nursing, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my career down the road,” Ogunmokun said.  “I started as a nursing assistant, which also is when I was first introduced to the world of long-term inpatient psychiatry. When I met medication aides at work, I was really intrigued by the job so I asked a lot of questions. Soon after that, I decided to go back to school and become a medication aide myself.”

It was through her work as a medication aide, Ogunmokun said, that piqued her interest in medication management. She briefly considered a career in pharmacy, but given her previous experience, she was positive that she was most passionate about psychiatry. She returned to school to complete the training to become an LPN and then an RN, and by then, she said her mind was set on advancing through the profession.

“I ended up moving into a setting that was inpatient but with more temporary stays, so patients were released back into the community in a very short timeframe,” Ogunmokun said. “I really became concerned about how these patients were going to function by themselves back out in society, and I wondered what I could do to better assist people in similar situations.”

While at that facility, Ogunmokun began feeling that while there was much she wanted to do to help her patients, she was limited by the fact that she was not allowed to prescribe medicine. It was then that she began working alongside several psychiatric nurse practitioners.

“I actually had no idea who they were,” Ogunmokun said. “I assumed they were doctors because they could prescribe medicine, but they ended up teaching me a lot about the process and benefits of becoming a nurse practitioner. It really got me thinking once I learned that they too were in the nursing profession—I had been frustrated for a while about barriers to helping my patients as much as I wanted. It became clear to me that I could overcome those obstructions as an NP, so I went back to school yet again.”

Fact: Nurse practitioners can prescribe medicine, including controlled substances, in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

In addition to prescriptive privileges, the NP profession appealed to Ogunmokun because nurse practitioners care for the “whole patient.” Alongside prescribing medicine and dispensing medical advice, NPs focus on the provision of health and wellness education and culturally competent care.

“It was during my first assignment with Consilium that I really began to understand the impact you can have as a nurse practitioner,” Ogunmokun said. “I had never worked in an outpatient setting before, but they gave me the opportunity to try it. It is so gratifying for me to help patients improve to the point that they begin thriving in personal and professional settings.”

Ogunmokun, who has worked with Consilium for three years, recounts the story of a patient she treated on assignment who was going through an incredibly rough patch in his life.

“That gentleman was dealing with all sorts of huge life issues simultaneously,” Ogunmokun said. “He had lost his wife, a number of his other relatives died within the same timeframe, he was completely unable to sleep at night, and he was struggling not to lose his house. It was incredibly rewarding when he returned a month later and I saw that my choice of medications was the right combination for him. He was sleeping better, feeling better overall despite the circumstances, and he was starting to move forward again. That was big for me.”

Ogunmokun, something of a world traveler, chooses to work locum tenens in large part because of the control she can maintain over her schedule.

“I really enjoy traveling, and I want to have the option to, say, visit the United Kingdom for six weeks if I want to,”Ogunmokun said. “In a regular job that’s virtually impossible, but locum tenens makes it so easy, and Consilium truly understands the concept of locums. They aren’t like some agencies that will ask where you’re going or why you need to be off—they really give you the freedom and flexibility to work as you choose.”

In the interest of paying forward some of the wisdom she received as an aspiring NP, Ogunmokun offers guidance to nurse practitioners who are not yet sure what type of work arrangement they should choose.

“If I were to advise an NP who was considering doing locum tenens, I would say to just maintain an open mind and give it a try,” Ogunmokun said. “Locums is a great way to experience new practice settings and you can generally stay for as long as you would like. The biggest thing is that with Consilium, you know you will be taken care of. It makes all the difference to work with someone who is an outspoken advocate for you and your needs—I feel like I have that in Cullen and Shadley, my recruiter and account manager.”

Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding quality medical providers to cover shifts at your facility?

Locum Tenens Provider Spotlight: Where a Passion for Psychiatry Converges with Advocacy

Dr. Eisele currently works with Consilium in inpatient and outpatient community mental health settings.

Karla Eisele couldn’t tell you exactly when or why she first decided to become a physician—it was just always part of her life plan, even as a young child. There were no doctors in her family, but she says the medical field drew her in “like a magnet.”

Despite the early affinity for a career in medicine, Eisele—a woman of many talents—did venture off on the occupational “detour” or two, so to speak.

“I did get sidetracked for a while,” Eisele said. “I realized in college that I also really loved math, and I ended up teaching high school math in Colorado! That was fun, but medicine was always in the back of my mind—after teaching for a few years, I finally decided to take this whole ‘medical school thing’ seriously.”

“I work very hard, so I love that with Consilium, I have the flexibility to schedule a vacation whenever is best for me. I just let Penny—my account manager—know when I will be out, and she takes care of everything.”

Dr. Eisele on her most recent vacation, pictured with her boyfriend Greg

Her decision to pursue psychiatry in particular had much to do with the foresight of her medical school: already aware of the psychiatrist shortage, the University of Colorado had introduced a psychiatry rotation for second-year students to provide early exposure and encourage higher entry to the field.

“Listen, your second year of medical school, you are so bogged down with lectures that a rotation in ANYTHING would be a welcome change,” Eisele laughed. “But that was honestly just ‘it’ for me. As soon as I got involved in psychiatry it was all over—I knew this was absolutely what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing.”

After medical school, Dr. Eisele completed residency in Wichita, Kansas, and soon after made her way to Idaho, where she worked in an inpatient state mental health facility.

“This was probably a bit naïve, but I had really planned to stay at that hospital forever,” Eisele said. “I really loved it there, but eventually I just needed a change of pace and scenery.”

After seven years as an inpatient psychiatrist in Idaho, Dr. Eisele was eager to move to a new work setting but was leery of committing to a new job before knowing it was the right fit. To ensure she would find her ideal new career home, she decided to give locum tenens a try.

“It turns out that I was really fond of those shorter assignments and all the variety they offered, so I ended up sticking with locums,” Eisele said. “I am so glad I was able to start working with Consilium. I’ve been with Penny—my account manager—from the very beginning and she is just so, so nice! She’s sweet yet also tells it to me straight: I know that if I ever have a problem, all I have to do is call Penny and she will handle it right away.”

Q&A with Dr. Karla Eisele, Locum Tenens Psychiatrist

You have a real passion for inpatient settings. What is it that draws you to inpatient psychiatry in particular?

Believe it or not, my favorite thing is that when I go to work every day, I don’t know exactly what situations I will encounter that day—I get to think on my feet a bit. It’s very exciting, very challenging, and at the same time very rewarding, too. It can be incredibly difficult when you have patients who have gone without treatment and are truly afraid that we are going to hurt them rather than help them. The reward piece comes in when they begin to understand that we really do care about them, there really IS something wrong, and we really can help them. It’s when that lightbulb clicks on that you feel like you’ve made a difference.

Also, in inpatient settings you frequently interact with professionals in diverse specialties, which puts me in a better position to advocate for the needs of my patients. Too often, psychiatric patients do not receive quality medical care, so for that reason it is important to remain current in general medicine in addition to psychiatry. As a physician, this is where I get to step in and monitor their medical condition and then refer out to doctors who I trust to treat my patients well and genuinely listen to them.

There is this stigma in the general population surrounding mental illness and the use of psychiatric medications, but it’s truly no different from somebody needing medicine to help control high blood pressure. At the end of the day, my patients are just people—people who need help, who need to know that there are people who care about them and their struggles.

So you really have a platform to advocate for your patients.

Absolutely. And working in community health, I have additional opportunities to do just that. With the economic crash several years back, many facilities that served vulnerable populations closed, and they have not reopened at the same rate they closed. Because I work closely with my patients and their whole care team, I am able to identify ways that processes can be improved and pass that along to facility administrators. In turn, they can use that information to press for changes on a systemic level so we can better serve our patients.

You currently work with Consilium in inpatient and outpatient community health settings—what does a typical “day in your life” look like?

I go to the inpatient unit first thing in the morning and do rounds on anywhere from 4 to 8 patients. Around noon, I go to my outpatient clinic and see people from the community to ensure they are on the best medicines—and the appropriate dosages—for their specific conditions. I used to think that outpatient work would not be exciting enough for me, but I have really enjoyed it!

The really cool thing about the outpatient clinic where Consilium placed me is that the building also houses an adult group home. These are people who are dealing with serious mental illnesses and would not be able to live in the community by themselves. But in the facility, they each have their own unit—which is basically like a little apartment—complete with a kitchen. Basically, they are able to be somewhat independent while also having access to staff members as needed. When it’s time for their visit with me, they just come downstairs. It’s so neat, and it’s really the best possible scenario for my patients.

How has working locum tenens with Consilium impacted your life?

I genuinely feel like my current work arrangement is the best fit for me thus far in my career. The flexibility is one of the best parts for me. I work very hard, so I love that Consilium gives me the flexibility to schedule a vacation whenever is best for me. I really, really appreciate that. I am also paid more than if I were working as a permanent employee: it would honestly be difficult to go back to a more traditional set-up because of the pay cut that would require.

Most importantly though, I stay with Consilium because of the working relationship I have built with my account manager over time. At the end of the day, it’s simple: I plan to stay with Penny!

Interested in putting your medical expertise to work with Consilium, or in finding quality medical providers to cover shifts at your facility?

More from Consilium’s partnering locum tenens physicians:

How Locum Tenens Bridges the Mental Health Care Gap

Listen to Amy Gentile’s interview

As the nationwide physician shortage increases, coupled with growing public awareness of available mental health services, medical facilities across the country struggle to maintain enough psychiatrists to provide timely care for all prospective patients. For many patients, this often means waiting months for appointments—or even going completely without mental health care—due to a complete lack of nearby psychiatrists who will accept new patients. As part of our mission to increase access to mental health care across the country, Consilium’s behavioral health division connects these understaffed mental health facilities with quality psychiatrists, psychologists, and psychiatric nurse practitioners.

FACT: Nearly one in five American adults will experience mental illness in any given year, yet only 40% receive treatment for that illness. [1,2]

To commemorate Mental Health Month, we spoke with Amy Gentile—partner and regional vice president of Consilium’s behavioral health division—about her experience in social work and the importance of providing accessible mental health services.

Talk a little bit about how you came to be so passionate about your work in behavioral health.

My schooling was in social work and I did all my work in drug and alcohol treatment centers. I did a lot of work in mental health as I worked alongside a psychiatrist. A lot of the drug and alcohol patients that were in the treatment centers also had dual diagnoses where they also had mental health illnesses. I got to work with those patients firsthand and see how important it was that they had their medications, therapy, and access to psychiatrists. Not to mention that I have some personal experience with family members who have dealt with mental illness, primarily depression. I’ve seen how important it is that they also had access to psychiatrists and medication.

FACT: Nearly 8 million adults in the United States have co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.[2]

When the opportunity arose for me to work in behavioral health in the locums industry, I thought it was a perfect fit for me because not only did I understand psychiatry—and the buzzwords and everything else—I was also just very passionate about making sure patients had mental health care. I know how important it is, professionally and personally.

How does Consilium fit into your mission to improve access to mental health services?

Just the idea that we have the opportunity to affect patient lives every single day. It’s the fact that with every phone call that I make, I have the opportunity to put a doctor into a facility. One more patient could be seen because I made a phone call, because someone gave us the opportunity to work on a job for them when they’re short-staffed for one reason or another. We’re affecting patient lives. We could be saving somebody’s life because we put a doctor in there—that’s huge to me.

FACT: 90% of those who die by suicide have symptoms of an underlying mental illness.[3]

The fact of the matter is that without locum tenens, a lot of patients wouldn’t be seen. They can go for months on waiting lists. I talk to facilities all the time that have one-, two-, three-month waiting lists for these patients. They’re backed up even to do evaluations and see what medications these people need to be on. What if they don’t get their medications—what’s next for them? Are they going to end up on the streets, are they going to end up in jail, are they going to end up worse? It can be a really sad situation. There’s a real need for doctors to be able to get in there and see these patients on a locums basis. Facilities can only go so long without coverage. They need to have coverage, period.

FACT: An estimated 50-75% of adolescents in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental illness.[4]

So even though you’re out of the social work field, you’re able to make an impact in an area that’s very important to you.

Absolutely. It’s near and dear to my heart for a lot of reasons that I mentioned. Even when counseling, just having a parent thank you for helping their child when they feel like you made a difference in their kid’s life. They feel like they’re connecting with their child again because their child is making an effort not to drink or take drugs, they’re getting help on the mental health side, they’re taking their medication—they’re doing what they’re supposed to do in all aspects. They’re going to their AA meetings and they’re seeing their psychiatrist and they’re doing everything they’re supposed to be doing; that’s a big deal.

FACT: 37% of students ages 14+ who have a mental health condition will drop out of school.[5]

On the professional side, when you have a client who is just so elated with their psychiatrist—especially when they went for quite a while without one and they needed one badly— and they’re so happy with the one you put in there for months and months and months… They’re just so grateful and appreciative, and it makes you feel good. It makes you feel good that our team did such a good job to get somebody in there because they’re so happy and you know that their patients are being seen. It makes you feel good that we worked as a team and got someone in there for them.

FACT: Consilium puts mental health professionals in positions to save lives.

Interested in providing mental health care with one of our clients or in finding psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners to see patients at your facility? Give us a call at 877-536-4696 or fill out our convenient online form.

 

Sources

  1. National Institute of Mental Health. Any Mental Illness (AMI) Among Adults.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Behavioral Health Trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  3. American Psychological Association. Teen Suicide is Preventable.
  4. Underwood, L., & Washington, A. (2016). Mental Illness and Juvenile Offenders. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 13(2), 228.
  5. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Mental Health Facts: Children and Teens.

Holiday Self-Care for Behavioral Health Professionals, Part 2: Get Creative to Preserve Your Sanity

Struggling to find the right work-life-holiday balance? Check out the first post in our series for tips on how medical professionals can prioritize self-care during the Christmas season.

Stressed about holiday obligations and expectations specifically, from gift-buying and meal preparation to playing the part of the flawless host(ess)? At the end of the day, crafting the “perfect” holiday gathering will pale in comparison to enjoying time with your loved ones. Make your Christmas special (and still pull off that beautiful celebration, minus the anxiety) by delegating tasks and incorporating family into some of the preparations that you usually handle alone.

Or, if you are feeling particularly adventurous, get a little creative and shake up your whole holiday routine:

Give in and let Aunt Betty make that “unique” dish she keeps raving about.
If you are usually solely responsible for preparing an extravagant holiday meal for immediate and extended family and friends, request that guests bring their own signature desserts, beverages, or side dishes. Who knows, you may even end up with a new favorite recipe for next year!

Turn holiday shopping into a game.
Cynthia Clinton, LPC, said that Christmas shopping used to be anxiety-provoking for her until her family of six went a little non-traditional one year: “We set a rule that all Christmas presents had to be secondhand, salvaged, or homemade, and it was probably the most fun we have ever had. The kids came up with everything from vintage poodle skirts to already scratched-off (but winning!) lottery tickets, and we didn’t need to spend exorbitant amounts of money to have a happy, hilarious holiday.”

Revive the holiday wonder of your childhood and pay it forward.
Reminisce on all the things that made Christmas so enchanting when you were a child. Was it the sheer beauty of neighborhood decorations, the thought of Santa’s magical evening journey, or perhaps the joy of finding the perfect gift for loved ones? Whatever you most loved years ago, find a way this year to bring your favorite Christmas memories to life for others. This could mean conspiring with friends to finally cross caroling off everyone’s holiday bucket list, or perhaps acting as a “Secret Santa” (beard optional) for a family in need in your community. Whatever direction you choose to go, reigniting the wonder of Christmas in your own life may really be as simple as bringing that old magic to life for others.

However you celebrate this year, we at Consilium would like to wish all of our healthcare providers a happy (and stress-free) holiday season. If you have a clever “holiday hack” not mentioned above, share the wisdom—add it in the comments below! Merry Christmas, from our families to yours.

Want to learn more about locum tenens? Visit the Consilium website to view current opportunities for medical professionals across the country and internal candidates based in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Holiday Self-Care for Behavioral Health Professionals, Part 1: Take Your Own (Expert) Advice

The holiday season, though hopefully a joyous time of fellowship with friends and family, can instead turn into yet another stressor for already-busy healthcare providers. This especially can be the case for psychiatrists, counselors, and other behavioral health specialists, who frequently remain on-call during the holidays in the event a patient is in crisis. As you assist clients with navigating seasonal stressors, how do you ensure that you do not sacrifice your own mental health needs in the process?

We sat down with Cynthia Clinton, LPC, to discuss the importance of prioritizing self-care and maintaining work-life balance during the holiday season.

Healthcare Provider, Helping Professional…and Human Being, Too.

During your time in practice, you have probably worked with a client (or ten) who needed help coping with stress and anxiety, finance-related anxiety, seasonal depression and grief, or feelings of being overwhelmed. Think back on those sessions and try extending to yourself the same compassionate care and patience you provided each of those clients. Clinton recommends first returning to basic, tried-and-true self-care tactics:

  • Maintain (or increase!) healthy behaviors, like engaging in regular physical activity and eating a well-balanced diet. Physical and emotional health are inextricably linked, and many people are quick to discontinue exercise when life gets busier around the holidays. Mental health specialists are not immune from that tendency, she warns, especially when patient loads increase.
  • Specifically schedule time for yourself each day. Whether you use it for journaling, meditation, yoga, or simply peace and quiet, carve out at least 15 minutes a couple times per day to just “be,” without focusing on the needs and demands of patients, children, or bosses. “Give yourself permission to take a short break away from everyone else, even family, to re-center yourself,” Clinton recommends.
  • Set boundaries on your thoughts and leave work at work. Though easier said than done, particularly when a rough case tugs at your heartstrings, you “simply cannot solve everybody’s problems,” Clinton said. “Yes, people are hurting, and it can be hard to stave off your own guilt when you feel compelled to ‘do more.’ But leave those burdens at the office where they belong and be present for yourself and with your family. Only when you adequately care for yourself can you truly provide the best support for your clients.”
  • Use—and cherish— your support network…Stressful though it can be, try to take a step back and enjoy the holiday season for what it is: an opportunity to celebrate with those closest to you. Take time to go see Christmas lights with your children, attend a holiday event with the whole family, volunteer with your church, or plan a special outing with your significant other.
  • …and encourage clients to engage theirs, too. “There will be times when you cannot carry the load for a patient who relies on you as their only source of support,” Clinton said. “Encourage them to access some additional resources and activities to help them satisfy their needs without specifically relying on you for everything. This can be anything from community or religious groups to a new hobby or self-improvement goal, but get them plugged in to additional supports.”

On behalf of everyone here at Consilium, we would like to thank our partnering behavioral health professionals and wish you a wonderful and fulfilling holiday season. You provide necessary mental health care with each assignment you take on, and we are grateful that you trust us to connect you with the next great opportunity to make a difference.