Meet a Psychiatric Nurse

Susie Berger, RN, MSN, is a psychiatric nurse specialist. Berger received her nursing degree from Lutheran Medical School, and her bachelor’s degree from University of Phoenix in Boulder, Colorado. She has a master’s in science of nursing with a specialty in psychiatric mental health nursing from Saint Louis University.

For 18 years, Berger worked on inpatient and chemical dependency units as a clinician, and in management. For the past 15 years, she has served in several different capacities in home care, including psychiatric, management and administration.

“If the patient is already on service with BJC Home Care Services, and the clinician thinks the patient needs a psychiatric evaluation or already has a diagnosis of mental illness, that is where I come in.” There needs to be a physician order for a psychiatric evaluation.

“Sometimes I might be the primary nurse working on a patient with a psychiatric diagnosis,” says Berger. “Other times I am the secondary nurse working with the medical nurse on a patient who has a chronic illness, such as cardio-pulmonary disease.” Behavioral or emotional problems can often be associated with a physical illness and that is where I can definitely help someone,” Berger says.

“There was a patient I had earlier this year,” says Berger. “She was paranoid, had dementia and had difficulty staying in her apartment. She was referred to the Center for Senior Renewal Program at Christian Hospital.”

The Center for Senior Renewal Program at Christian Hospital is a senior psychiatric outpatient program offering an intensive level of mental health treatment without the high cost or inconvenience of inpatient hospitalization. It helps senior adults cope with their unique emotional problems and physical challenges that can make life difficult.

“She is now taking care of her medications with a caregiver, and functioning very well in her own home,” says Berger. “It makes me feel good that I played a role in her recovery.”