Q and A: Tulsi Majchrzak, Psych-Mental Health NP
Majchrzak graduated from UC's post-master's certificate program
Tulsi Majchrzak’s goal from day one of nursing school was to serve patients with mental health disorders. After she earned her bachelor’s in nursing, she worked in one of the oldest psychiatric hospitals in the country. She later earned a master’s and taught courses in psych-mental health nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. Now a graduate of UC’s Post-Master’s Certificate in Psych-Mental Health NP program, Majchrzak offers psych-mental health services via telehealth, reaching a swath of patients in different communities.
Here's what Majchrzak 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?
I always knew I wanted to work with individuals with mental health disorders. Becoming a psychiatric nurse was my goal when I decided to attend nursing school. After completing my Bachelor of Science in Nursing, my first job was as a charge nurse on a dual-diagnosis unit at Friend's Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one of the oldest psychiatric hospitals in the U.S. Later, I earned my master’s degree in nursing education and worked as a clinical instructor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, teaching psychiatric nursing to junior nursing students in both stimulation and clinical settings.
Why did you choose to become a Psych-Mental Health NP?
I decided to go back to school for my Post-Master's Certificate in Psych-Mental Health because I wanted to expand my knowledge about psychiatric nursing and practice as a provider. I loved teaching my students, but I missed having direct patient interactions and providing care. I knew that going back to school for my nurse practitioner degree was something I wanted to do because I have worked with psychiatric patients in some capacity throughout my nursing career and I have found it to have a positive impact on both me as a professional and on my patients. I believed I would be doing myself an injustice if I did not pursue my Psych-Mental Health NP license and practice in a field where I know I can make a positive impact.
How did UC prepare you for your Psych-Mental Health NP role?
UC's Psych-Mental Health NP program prepared me well with the knowledge and skillset to practice confidently as a mental health provider. UC provides its students with the knowledge, skills and attitude needed to be a successful practitioner. The college provides classes that rigorously delve into essential content matter in the areas of medication management and psychotherapy for various psychiatric diagnoses across the lifespan. Clinical time with a mentor is required, which supports theoretical coursework and aids in converting knowledge to practice. My favorite aspect of this program was the faculty and the plethora of knowledge and expertise they possess as educators and clinicians. They are also very kind and approachable; they would go the extra mile for their students if a topic was not understood or more resources were needed. I have always felt supported in my studies. Several faculty members are mental health advocates and their contributions to the community are truly inspirational. UC shapes its students to follow in the same footsteps and become leaders in the nursing profession.
Where do you work as a Psych-Mental Health NP?
While I was working as an inpatient psychiatric nurse and clinical instructor, I practiced in an urban setting. Now that I practice using a telehealth platform, I see patients from various
communities with different levels of income. I believe working with such a diverse population of patients is one of the neat parts of telepsychiatry.
What do you do as a Psych-Mental Health NP?
As a Psych-Mental Health NP working in telehealth, my daily responsibilities include conducting clinical assessments, prescribing psychotropic medications and conducting talk therapy. I collaborate with the interdisciplinary health care team to discuss patients’ goals and plans of care and monitor their progress. Some of the medical services I am responsible for include monitoring lab work and vital signs, as well as assessing for adverse medication reactions, such as serotonin syndrome, neuroleptic malignant syndrome and various types of extrapyramidal symptoms, and intervening accordingly.
What are the most rewarding and challenging parts of working as a Psych-Mental Health NP?
I find working as a Psych-Mental Health NP a very rewarding career. I consider it humbling when patients are vulnerable and open up about their feelings and emotions. Many times, the population of patients I treat does not have a support system, so I find it meaningful to offer my assistance at such a difficult time in their lives. As in any field of nursing, there can be several challenges — patients can be non-adherent with their medication regime and, unfortunately, this can cause their mental health to deteriorate. Ensuring that patients adhere to their discussed treatment plan is crucial in obtaining positive outcomes and achieving treatment success. It is essential to continuously provide medication education, stress the importance of treatment compliance and ensure the patient is comfortable and has faith in you as their provider.