Mclean Hospital

Clinician Experiences Related Content


Anxiety in Children: A Fresh Approach to Treatment

“What if you walked around every day feeling that your heart was pounding in your chest and that you couldn’t breathe? What if your brain was constantly telling you that the scariest, most horrible things were going to happen and that the world felt like an out of control and unsafe place? Now imagine that you’re 7, or 10, or 15, and that this is your daily reality. This is what...

My McLean Over the Years: From Childhood Escapades to a Young Nurse’s Training to Clinical Research

Part I of a two part series I can remember hearing about McLean Hospital even as a young child. My great grandfather, grandfather, and father were born and raised in Belmont. In the 1800s, my great grandfather built a strong business here on his farm as the town blacksmith. The shop and barn were less than a half mile from McLean. He and his three brothers had tales from their youth of cutting...

‘Opportunities to Grow’ has Inspired Three Generations of One Family to Work at McLean

When Cathie Bowen started working at McLean in 1974 in the Patient Accounts department, she had no idea she would have a fulfilling, 35-year career at the hospital, or that her daughter, Wendy Currie, would graduate with a degree in psychology, earn her master’s degree in social work, and become the Director of Psychiatric Triage, or that her granddaughter, Jenny Currie, would graduate...

A Case of Pulmonary Embolism

My name is Katherine Athens and I am a nurse in the electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) clinic. It was a busy Friday in the clinic in March, a year ago. We were preparing to treat over 50 patients that day. Our practice had been expanding over the years, and it was hardly unusual to treat 50-plus patients a day—but it was busy nonetheless. (Since then, we have moved to a newly renovated and...

Sustainable Compassion Meditation

Last year I wrote an article for the McLean nursing newsletter about traveling to India and my journey with global health nursing. This year I am writing about another journey, an inner journey. A journey of burnout and creating resilience which has brought me to teach a class in compassion meditation here at McLean Hospital for nurses and other health care providers. In my career as a...

Did We Do the Right Thing? Choosing Tenderness Over a Strict Behavioral Plan

My name is Jeannie Kingsley. I’m a nurse on the Short Term Unit. Our patients are in crisis and need a brief hospitalization in order to stabilize. They arrive with all sorts of diagnoses, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder and occasionally psychotic disorders. We keep them safe, evaluate their needs and begin discharge planning as...

Assessing Without Obsessing: Ways to Check In on Your OCD

If you have ever been in treatment, you probably noticed that most sessions started with a review of the previous week. Did you complete your homework? Did you resist your rituals? Did you use your skills? This information is discussed each week in an effort to objectively assess the thoughts, feelings and behaviors that may be influencing treatment progress in order to inform treatment decisions...

A TMS Patient Loses Hope Midway Through Her Treatment

My name is Amy Widding, and I have been working as a nurse in the Psychiatric Neurotherapeutic Program (PNP) for almost three years. I work two days a week in the electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) clinic and once a week in the transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) clinic. I began here as a new graduate and feel lucky to have started my career under the wings of the outstanding nurses in the PNP....

Susan Zucker Enjoys Dual Role as Clinical Social Worker and Family Liaison at Pathways Academy

At McLean’s Pathways Academy, it’s the “little gains” that may not seem like a lot to others but are huge to the students who find challenges in everyday activities, said Susan Zucker, MSW, LICSW, clinical social worker/family liaison at the school since 2010. It can be seemingly simple things such as choosing lunch, understanding someone else’s perspective, or...

Elyn Saks: Making Peace with Mental Illness

When Elyn Saks spoke to a standing-room only crowd during a recent event at McLean Hospital, the crowd remained riveted for the full hour as she vividly recounted her unprecedented journey as a person living with schizophrenia. During her talk, Saks emphasized the need for more compassion and awareness in understanding and treating those who live with mental illness. Schizophrenia, she explains...

Elyn Saks Delivers Powerful Talk About Making Peace with Her Mental Illness

When Elyn Saks spoke to a standing-room only crowd during a recent Grand Rounds, the room remained riveted for the full hour as she vividly recounted her unprecedented journey as a person living with schizophrenia. Saks, who also spoke during the hospital’s annual National Council meeting last month, emphasized the need for more compassion and awareness in understanding and treating those...

Family Therapists Play Key Role in OCD Recovery

At some point in your life, either as a parent or child, you have likely attended an admission day such as the first day of school, camp, or college. The days leading up to admission are usually filled with feelings of excitement, hope, and often anxiety. Planning might have included researching directions, finding a hotel, making sure the car had enough gas, reviewing the “packing list...

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 (Proctor II), a women’s unit specializing in dissociative disorders and trauma. I came into work on a Wednesday morning in November 2012 and was told that a patient who had made a suicide attempt on another McLean unit over the weekend had been admitted to our unit. The...

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...

Acceptance Commitment Therapy in Assessment and Research for OCD

One of our goals at the OCDI Office of Clinical Assessment and Research (OCAR) is to advance clinical assessment and scientific research by providing relevant and useful information to guide and improve treatment for OCD. As part of our mission, we are constantly asking ourselves why and how our patients get better. What factors can help predict improvement in treatment? Because each patient has...

Integrating ACT into OCD Treatment

Over the past few years, clinicians and researchers at the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute (OCDI) have become increasingly interested in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). ACT is tricky to understand—not because it is complicated, but because it does not fit with how humans typically think about their problems. Imagine you are driving a bus with passengers on it towards...

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 (NB2), 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 unit. He was a tall, skinny man,...

Nursing Care Extends to Families in Crisis

My name is Amanda Casparriello, and I have been a nurse for six years. I work in the Geriatric Psychiatry Inpatient Services on South Belknap 2, which is a geriatric neuropsychiatry floor. 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 units: often, we focus on...

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 at Bunker Hill Community College. And when she finally took a good...

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