Serving the senior population has a very big impact on me both personally and professionally. I feel very rewarded with the difference that I am able to make in the lives of the clients I care for. I am also extremely proud of my colleagues, management and the organization as a whole who are all beacons of support. I am so honored working here at CMHA.
1. What is involved in your role?
I currently support two programs and serve three specific roles. My primary role is Geriatric Outreach Nurse of Specialized Geriatric Services. I use my medical background to help support our clients and my colleagues. Together, we bring forward clients to Dr. Karen Clements, who is our Geriatric Psychiatrist. I am also an OTN (Ontario Telemedicine Network) Telemedicine Clinical Coordinator. I am able to use OTN technology to address the need for clinical client consults in the community and, at the same time, help organize monthly talks through OTN within the realm of geriatric addictions. In these events, we bring forth a multitude of experts in their fields who help educate clinicians across the province. The other program I support is the Regional Memory clinics in Kitchener. In this work, we help geriatric clients in the assessment of memory impairment using a multidisciplinary team-based approach to clinical consultations.
2. Why did you become involved in the mental health field?
I worked in a long-term care setting as a floor nurse and behavioral support for the past few years prior to my work here at CMHA. That role gave me better insight and a deeper understanding regarding geriatric mental health. It also made me realize the bigger need for nurses in this field, which undeniably is only increasing in terms of demand. Serving the senior population has a very big impact on me both personally and professionally. I feel very rewarded with the difference that I am able to make in the lives of the clients I care for.
3. Have you always worked in mental health?
My initial nursing experiences were actually in the fields of medical-surgical and occupational health nursing. Community and then mental health nursing were more recent developments in my 10-year nursing career.
4. How do you support people in your role?
In my outreach role, I provide mental health nursing support to our community clients. On top of completing a comprehensive assessment summary, I am also able to do medical assessments and use tools including pain assessments, metabolic tracking, and medication reconciliation among several others. For OTN, I help set-up the technology for the client to get consulted by a specialist via a secure videoconferencing medium. At the memory clinic, I complete the initial client interview, physical assessment and the client’s cognitive/mood screens. I then bring forward my assessment results
5. What are you proud of during your time in your role?
I am very proud of my ability to juggle several responsibilities at the same time. This role really strengthened my time management skills and taught me how to prioritize my deliverables better. I am also extremely proud of my colleagues, management and the organization as a whole who are all beacons of support. I am so honored working here at CMHA.
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