Mclean Hospital

Nursing Network 2014

A publication of the McLean Hospital Nursing Department

October 1, 2014

In October, the McLean Hospital Nursing Department hosted Kris McLoughlin, DNP, APRN, FAAN, as the Fall Visiting Scholar. Her daylong presentation, “Integrating Recovery-Oriented Concepts into Nursing Practice,” provided a rich framework of ideas on how McLean’s nurses can more deliberately incorporate recovery-oriented principles in planning care with our patients and families. The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration defines recovery as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to meet their full potential.” Elements of the recovery-oriented paradigm are based on hope, respect, and cultural sensitivity. The model is driven by the individual, with support from peers and social networks. Further, recovery occurs via many pathways, and is holistic and trauma-informed.

The recovery model speaks to using “person-first language.” This concept states that the mental health condition is one facet of the individual, not the defining characteristic of the person. No one wants to be known by a medical diagnosis or defined by symptoms. McLean nurses strive to learn about the unique aspects of patients. For example, a patient may be a musician, artist, or student; a father, daughter, or spouse. A patient might enjoy particular hobbies or be engaged in employment that is meaningful. Appreciating the varied roles, relationships, and interests of patients allows for more meaningful connections and opportunities to develop collaborative care plans. The nursing staff is encouraged to listen intently to what they hear. Describing someone as “bipolar,” “borderline,” or “schizophrenic” can be perceived as labeling and does not encourage one to explore abilities and strengths. In the spirit of recovery-oriented practice, nurses work to use language that communicates hope, uniqueness, and acceptance.

Nursing at McLean
McLean’s nurses are committed to high-quality care for patients and their families

Stories in the Fall 2014 issue of Nursing Network highlight McLean nurses and their commitment to patient care.

AB2 Slogans Convey Common Message to Its Patients, Families, and Staff
Like all programs at McLean, we take tremendous pride in the care we provide to our patients at the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder Inpatient Program (AB2). But, almost a year ago, we were challenged greatly in the face of a volatile event that impacted us all. Many of us shared an initial reaction, which was a feeling of helplessness and a desire to be present, at work, even when we weren’t scheduled to be on the shift. Just to be there. It spoke to the innate camaraderie and strong bonds we develop with each other.

How It All Started: The Nursing Global Caucus
My name is Barbara Waldorf. I have worked in nursing for 30 years, in education, pediatrics, public health, and mental health. I currently teach public and global health and mental health nursing at Regis College, as well as work at McLean Hospital at The Pavilion and 3East. I am also the co-founder and executive director of the Global Nursing Caucus. This is my experience starting this non-profit organization.

CRC Michelle Abate Becomes Nurse Michelle Abate
After 15 years as an overnight community residence counselor at the Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Institute, and five years before that in a variety of CRC and mental health specialist jobs throughout the hospital, Michelle Abate knew it was time for a change. For years, she had been taking classes in subjects that interested her. And when she finally took a good look at her accumulated credits and coursework, her next step became clear: an associate degree in nursing.

Read more in the full issue.


In the Spring 2014 issue of Nursing Network, two of McLean’s nurses, Julie Twohig, RN, and Sandra Feehan, RN, share a story of patient care as an example of ongoing professional learning and compassionate care for McLean patients.

A Nursing Veteran Replaces Judgment with Compassion
My name is Julie Twohig, RN. I’m the clinical coordinator of the Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Inpatient Program. I came into work on a Wednesday morning in November 2012 and was told that a patient who had made a suicide attempt over the weekend at another McLean program had been admitted to our program.

Building Trust Slowly With a Longtime Patient
My name is Sandra Feehan. I have worked at McLean for 15 years and feel very fortunate to have a job I look forward to every day. I work primarily in the neurotherapeutics department with patients undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for disorders such as chronic depression, mania, catatonia, and schizophrenia. I also work on a per diem basis in the Clinical Evaluation Center. I am privileged to work with dedicated, empathic colleagues who support and challenge me every day. I have also learned a lot from the patients I encounter in both of my work settings.


For the last two years, the Katz Family Foundation has provided generous financial support in funding the post-graduate fellowship program for psychiatric advanced practice nurses. In addition to funding at McLean Hospital, the Katz Family Foundation has provided philanthropic investments in APRN fellowship programs at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Recently, McLean’s Nursing Department had the opportunity to meet with the sponsors of the fellowships, as well as with the current and past recipients, to exchange information about the programs. Though each training site has its unique attributes, all fellows have the opportunity to attend training seminars with their psychiatric colleagues, as well as hone their medication management skills. The fellows agreed that the fellowship was invaluable in transitioning from the academic setting to the professional practice environment.

In the Winter 2014 issue of Nursing Network, read more about the latest news from the Nursing Department.

Nursing Care Extends to Families in Crisis
My name is Amanda Casparriello, and I have been a nurse for six years. I work in Geriatric Psychiatry Inpatient Services in the geriatric neuropsychiatry program. Our patients present with some sort of cognitive decline mixed with changes in behavior. Dementia is our most common diagnosis. Our treatment goals are different from those of other programs: often, we focus on palliative care—keeping people comfortable by relieving their agitation or pain, for example—not “curing” them.

Caring for Patient’s Spiritual Needs Was an Important Part of Delivering Holistic Care
My name is Dorothy Ssebakka. I am a staff nurse at the Community Reintegration Unit, a short-term unit for patients with psychotic disorders. In 2011, I cared for a patient named Alfonso. He was a 44-year-old man with a history of schizophrenia. Alfonso had been refusing to take his medications and was unable to care for himself, so he was admitted to our program.

Read more in the full issue.