Meet Heather Nielsen, Consulting Psychiatric Advanced Practitioner

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Heather Nielsen, APRN-PMHNP, is passionate about helping people who suffer with mental
health issues. As a Consulting Psychiatric Advanced Practitioner at Bluestem Health, she
understands how mental health plays such an important role in maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spirit.  

During the past few years, Bluestem Health has been working to implement an integrated care model of medicine that allows for Mental Health and Psychiatric providers to work within the primary care setting. The Behavioral Health team also includes Behavioral Health Consultants, licensed clinical social workers, and licensed mental health professionals who see patients for counseling and support, and help with patient care plans and assessment of the patient's needs throughout their care at Bluestem. Working in this model with primary care providers, Heather is consulted to assist with assessment and treatment of patients in need of mental health treatments. At times, this may entail collaboration and discussion with primary care providers and behavioral health consultants only to establish or update patient care plans. At other times, Heather may meet with a patient face-to-face  in a clinic setting to gather more information and/or discuss treatment options with the patient and their family. As a member of the Behavioral Health team, she is continually collaborating with the patient's primary care provider who oversees the patient's overall healthcare and treatment plan. "I'm excited about the new care model as I feel I can make a bigger impact and be more involved in developing care plans for our patients," Heather says.

One of the greatest challenges Heather faces as a mental health provider is coordinating care and making sure patients have access to all the services they need. Due to fragmented healthcare over the years, she notes that patients have encountered difficulty in receiving required services, such as access to local resources and therapy services, filling medications regularly, and needed medical care that affects patient outcomes. These gaps in care are exactly what an integrated care model of healthcare helps to prevent. "Through our integrated model, we are able to streamline the process much better for our patients and to provide all aspects of care here or in collaboration with our community partners," Heather adds. "I really like that Bluestem Health makes such an effort to make sure each person receives the care they need."

Heather obtained her undergraduate degree from Union College and worked in the Mental Health Emergency Department at Bryan Medical Center for six years. She received her MSN from the University of Nebraska Medical Center where she specialized in Psychiatric/Mental Health and took Board Certification to become a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.
 
Whole person healthcare is Heather’s passion and working as part of the team at Bluestem Health allows her to treat psychiatric concerns with primary care providers and behavioral consultants in a team-based approach that better connects all areas of health in a person’s life. "Whether there is a chronic psychiatric disorder or simply adjusting to acute life changes, mental health affects all areas of life," states Heather. "This model of healthcare delivery allows for the medical team to address medical and behavioral/mental health concerns in one setting.”

Heather Nielsen, APRN-PMHNP, works with Bluestem Health’s primary care team at all of the Bluestem locations.