I have a BSN from West Texas State University, a MA in psychology, a MSN (both from McNeese State University) and a DNP from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in psychiatric nursing practice. I am licensed as a RN, LPC, and as a nurse practitioner. I have worked in the mental health field since 1975. My journey began as a mental health technician at a children's psychiatric hospital in Amarillo, TX. I worked for many years at various psychiatric units/hospitals - both located within a med-surg hospital and free standing - in the roles of staff nurse, nurse manager, director of nursing and program director of the adolescent unit. I have been in private practice as a LPC since 1988 and as a NP since 2002.
I am a professor and Co-Coordinator of the graduate program in the College of Nursing at McNeese State Univeristy. The university participates in a consortium with three other Louisiana universities to offer a MSN degree in the following options: nurse education, family nurse practitioner and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. In addition to directing the psychiatric and mental health advance practice nurse track for the consortium, I maintain a private practice about 10-15 hours per week. My primary focus these days is medication management, but I also maintain some therapy clients. My specialty in psychotherapy is working with individuals with abuse histories and those who have dissociative identity disorder.
I served the president of the Louisiana APNA chapter until December 2011. Psychiatric nursing remains a passion for me and I am hopeful that our state will shake off the effects of the hurricanes we have been hit with in 2005 and 2008 (when we lost a huge number of inpatient sites) and continue to grow our mental health resources in a way that meets the need of our population. As with most states, the vast majority of Louisiana remains psychiatrically underserved.