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Nurses positively impact client care at Rosecrance Ware Center

Clients now are likely to interact with nurses for routine checkups.

Scheduling a doctor’s appointment or medical procedure can test patience on the best days. When you or your child need to manage a mental health disorder, the wait can be especially distressing.

The Rosecrance Ware Center’s medical team has expanded over the past several years to improve access and enhance the range of services provided. Now a full team of psychiatrists, nurses, and medical assistants are available to provide care, answer questions, and help educate clients.

“We want to be the provider of choice for all who seek behavioral health treatment,” said Nurse Manager Heather Borgardt, who was the lone staff nurse in the medical suite five years ago. “With a team of this size, we’re able to give individuals even better assistance in a timely manner.”

To make the most of a growing team’s increased capabilities, Borgardt developed a “nurse clinic” structure to shorten wait times for child and adolescent visits. Clients now are likely to interact with nurses for routine checkups. While psychiatrists consult on complex cases, the arrangement enables trusting client-provider relationships to be established with Borgardt’s team. In addition, nurses are uniquely positioned to monitor individuals’ health from a holistic perspective, as they can follow up with therapists and primary providers, or connect clients with Rosecrance’s full continuum of behavioral healthcare.

Beyond these enhanced services, the larger team has been able to provide expert presentations on topics of interest. These may happen in routine checkups, or they may be informal group conversations each month. Education often involves healthy diets and lifestyle changes.

This coordination is a goal of the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model that Rosecrance launched last year. Designed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it links clients to primary care, behavioral health treatment, and other specialty care with a goal of improving overall outcomes. SAMHSA and Winnebago County Mental Health Board funding have made it possible for the medical team’s expansion as well as other enhancements at Rosecrance.

“Immediate access to medical expertise is the most important thing we can do for our clients,” Borgardt said. “Sometimes clients call with medical questions, other times they just need a nurse who can be a reassuring voice to walk them through a particular situation. It is gratifying that we can be part of their care and walk with them.”

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