Hospital Hires Full-Time Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

Jason Graziadei •

Nantucket Cottage Hospital has added a new full-time psychiatric nurse practitioner to its medical staff to support the mental health needs of patients throughout the hospital.

Wendy Carlson, a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse pracitioner who has more than 24 years of experience in nursing, is joining NCH from a private practice in southeastern Massachusetts. In her new role, Carlson will be seeing patients throughout the hospital, including the primary care clinic.

“We are excited to bring the role of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner back to NCH,” said Amy Lee, President of Nantucket Cottage Hospital. “We have been working hard with our community partners to address the shortcomings in the system of mental healthcare on the island and Wendy will play a major role in that effort.”

Nantucket Cottage Hospital previously employed a psychiatric nurse practitioner - Hannah Severns - in 2016 and 2017, but that position was funded through a grant from The Tower Foundation to Nantucket Behavioral Health Services, and ended when the funding expired.

According to the Nantucket Behavioral Health Assessment Report published in October 2021, "more than 90% of patients seen in the hospital for a behavioral health evaluation did not have contact with a mental health professional in the 90 days prior to their assessment, based on NCH clinicians’ experience."

From July 2020 to June 2021, NCH clinicians performed 62 crisis evaluations in the hospital, including 26 suicide-related encounters and 17 evaluations linked to substance use.

The addition of more dedicated mental health clinicians within the hospital and the community has been a goal for many years.

“I am very pleased to be part of this community and part of the talented team at NCH,” said Ms. Carlson. “There are many aspects that contribute to mental health wellness that can be addressed within the hospital as well as in the community. I look forward to meeting everyone and to making an impact.”

Psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioners promote well-being through prevention and education, as well as creating a holistic plan of care that focuses on keeping both the body and mind healthy, the hospital stated. They conduct diagnostic evaluations, medication management, treatment planning and psychotherapy for a wide range of conditions.

“Having Wendy embedded in the primary care clinic will elevate our integration of physical and mental health care and fill a current gap in providing wholistic healthcare to our patients and families," said Aimee Carew-Lyons, the hospital's chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services." She will also be an important resource to physicians and their patients throughout the hospital.”

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