Each day, the clinical team at Psychology Consultants, Inc., strives to make a difference in the lives of their patients. Our team of dedicated and caring psychologists tell us that working with residents in long-term care facilities can truly be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
We sat down to talk with two of our team members, Ramone Ford, PhD, and Erika Staneff, PsyD, as they shared insights into their daily work.
- Q: What does a typical workday look like for you? Ramone Ford: "Most of us visit one facility per day. When I arrive at the facility, I try to connect with a social worker to see if there are any new issues or referrals. I also connect with the director of nursing. It's almost like rounds. I don't have a set schedule. I'll meet with patients anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. I'd say on average I see about 8 per day."
Erika Staneff: "As clinical director, I work with the new employees, taking them into the homes and teaching them the ins and outs of day-to- day interactions and how to document using our EHR (electronic health records). When I go to a facility, I always talk to the aides and the nursing staff. [Psychologists] bring a different kind of expertise, but we don't see these patients every day. We have to rely on and build relationships with the people who do see them every day."
- Q: Working primarily with the elderly population, what issues and concerns do you help your patients to address? RF: "We see depression 85-95 percent of the time, along with anxiety-based disorders and adjustment disorders. Often this is the first time these patients are coming to a long-term care facility, and they're not used to being reliant on someone outside of their family."
ES: "With this population, they're dealing with loss. Loss of their home. Their freedom. Their privacy. Their loved ones. Things feel like they've been taken away. Our biggest job is to help these patients find a way to move forward."
- Q: What do you enjoy the most about your job? RF: "Providing care and support to the residents and their families. You connect with residents in a different way. After a while, you're seen as a grandson of sorts. Patients are happy to see you — you're excited because they're excited. It's rewarding."
ES: "I enjoy meeting different kinds of patients. Their stories are sometimes mind-blowing —things they've gotten to see and be a part of. I have one patient who was a trauma nurse. She had this amazing life experience, and it shaped her into the person that she is today. That's great for me to hear."
- Q: What are the benefits for psychologists at PCI compared to those in private practice? RF: "I don't have to do any billing. Any question about insurance coverage, I don't have to worry about. I can refer them to our staff, who are all great and knowledgeable. Our environment is very supportive, and our leadership team is always accessible."
ES: "I'm responsible for managing my own caseload and schedule. I decide who needs to be seen that day and who needs to be checked in on. It's also nice to be able to work an 8-hour day and not have it be mornings or evenings. It's really a 9-to- 5 job, and that's tough to find in our field. We also have the ability to work close to home. We always try to keep our clinicians in their area. When new contracts come up, we're always able to move clinicians closer to home. That's a perk."
"I enjoy meeting different kinds of patients. Their stories are sometimes mind-blowing -things they've gotten to see and be a part of. I have one patient who was a trauma nurse. She had this amazing life experience, and it shaped her into the person that she is today. That's great for me to hear."
- Q: What advice would you offer to psychologists who join the PCI team? RF: "You have to be outgoing and market yourself. At the facilities I go to, I want them to know I'm here to help if they have any concerns. It can be challenging if you're introverted."
ES: "No matter where you work, having a work life balance is important. We can't take care of our patients, if we aren't taking care of ourselves. It's easy to get wrapped up in your work and feel pressure. But the nice thing about PCI is its flexibility. Remember to use that."