Richard Lee Walden, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, is a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner, who is Board Certified in Psychiatric Mental Health Advanced Nursing Practice. He calls Lucedale, MS, home, but is happy to now be working with Alabama Psychiatry under the River Region Psychiatry Associates umbrella.
Prior to starting his new journey with AL Psychiatry, Lee worked under a travel contract in Omaha, NE, as a Psychiatric Charge RN. He has worked for the last 10 years as a Psychiatric Mental Health Registered Nurse— 1 year and 8 months with CHI-Lasting Hope Recovery Center, acute inpatient hospital; six months at CHI-Mercy Hospital; over a year with Northwest Center for Behavioral Health’s Acute Care Unit, an inpatient psychiatric treatment facility; and before that, five years with a division of Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources on the MS Gulf Coast, Coastal Community Care. The Adult Services portion, for which he worked, is PACT, or Program for Assertive Community Treatment [ACT].
He has varied work experience, including significant and diverse management. Lee’s management employment spans over 25 years in restaurants, consumer electronics, bookstores, mass-market discount stores, salons, beauty supply, and, most enjoyably, long term care and skilled nursing with Charge RN and House Supervisor responsibilities.
While attending National Park Community College August 2010–May 2013, Lee maintained a GPA: 3.83 with coursework in Psychiatric Nursing Theory and Clinical Practice, Developmental Psychology, and Human Sexuality along with clinical rotations in Critical Care, Emergency Care, Wound Care, Geriatrics, Long-Term Care, LTAC, Labor/Delivery, Pediatrics, and Med/Surg. Lee achieved his Associate of Science in Nursing May 2013 at National Park Community College in Hot Springs, AR, passed the NCLEX in August, and began his first nursing job in November the same year as an LTC/Skilled Nursing Charge Nurse, alternating between the two units and serving as PRN Night House Supervisor.
While he enjoyed this work, Lee longed for work in his field in which he has passion, Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, and received that opportunity on December 1st,2014, on the PACT Team. Lead by both a Psychologist as the Adult Services Director and a PMHNP-BC as Medical Director, PACT provides services to the severely mentally ill, having a history of multiple hospitalizations, and often incarcerations, with of assisting them in achieving and maintaining life and less restrictive treatment in the community. PACT teams visit clients where they reside, even in the woods for the homeless, to provide medication management and administration, therapy, and assistance in accessing resources, such as insurance, housing, employment, and/or financial assistance (SSDI, SSI, SNAP, Pharmaceutical Patient Assistance, et al). PACT was a truly rewarding experience for the team as much as the clients.
The journey was yet to be completed, however. Lee returned to complete further education at Wilkes University from May 2017–May 2021, completing coursework in Advanced Psychiatric Nursing Therapy Modalities, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Psychopharmacology, Mental Health Perspectives (Diversity& Culturally Aware Practice), Advanced Health Assessment, Diagnostic Reasoning, Nursing Leadership, and Interdisciplinary Collaboration. He completed clinicals within practice sites of acute adult inpatient State Hospital; acute adult, acute child and adolescent, and Special Care units of hospital with also Med-Surg consults; Partial Hospitalization Program for child and adolescents; outpatient community mental health clinic for adults; and Tele-Psych with both adults and child/adolescents. He graduated May 29th, 2021, with a Master’s in Nursing, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty focus, from Wilkes University.
As a Board-Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Lee hopes to help fill a significant gap in mental healthcare, particularly in the Southeast US, as beds get reduced, and providers choose other practice fields. He intends to be involved in national efforts to improve mental health as well, while educating the public on mental health to reduce its associated stigma and increase public access to quality mental healthcare.