Q and A: Summer Wilson, Psych-Mental Health NP
Summer Wilson graduated from UC's post-master's certificate program
Summer Wilson earned her master’s in midwifery and maintained a home birth practice for about seven years. But, her interest in psychiatry ultimately pulled her to the psych-mental health nursing specialty. Wilson graduated in 2019 from UC’s Post-Master’s Certificate in Psych-Mental Health NP program and now works in an outpatient clinic seeing children and teens.
Here's what Wilson had to say about the psych-mental health specialty, UC’s program and her current role.
What did you do before becoming a Psych-Mental Health NP?
After earning my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I earned a Master of Science in Nursing in midwifery. I maintained a home birth practice from 2005-2012 and,
when I stopped practicing, I worked at Passport Health, [a travel health and immunization services provider with clinics across the U.S.], doing international travel education and vaccination.
Why did you choose to become a Psych-Mental Health NP?
I have always had a personal interest in psychology. I was considering going back to school to become a psychotherapist until I figured out that Psych-Mental Health NPs do therapy in combination with medication management.
How did UC prepare you for your Psych-Mental Health NP role?
I had no background in psychiatric nursing, so I felt like I was starting from scratch. I worked very hard, did all required readings and work and got lucky enough to have a wonderful preceptor, Dr. Lee Tyson [associate professor and director of UC's Psych-Mental Health NP programs]. It helped that I was very interested in the subject matter and wanted to learn all I could about it.
Where do you work as a Psych-Mental Health NP?
Since graduation, I worked at an addiction center, and then I started at a company doing 100% telepsychiatry in three states. Last December, I started working at an outpatient practice and mostly see children and teens both in person and virtually.
What do you do as a Psych-Mental Health NP?
I consider building a strong relationship and trust with my patients as my primary role. Although I do medication management, there is also a bit of psychotherapy involved. There are also lots of administrative tasks, including communicating with patients over texts and emails, managing referrals and communication with other providers involved in the patient’s care, finishing charts, putting in prescriptions, completing referral forms for patient programs and FMLA paperwork.
What are the most rewarding and challenging parts of working as a Psych-Mental Health NP?
It is very rewarding when a patient comes back and says you have changed their life for the better. Some challenges include finding a collaborative physician, struggling to get insurance reimbursement and spending so much extra time doing administrative tasks.