Nancy Schmelzer, MSW, MSN, LISW-S, PMHNP-BC, a behavioral health nurse practitioner in our Springfield market, loves being able to make a personal connection with her patients.
“I love when a client feels heard and there is the connection from one human being to another,” she explains. “It can be very difficult to connect to individuals, especially when they are sick and at their most vulnerable. I enjoy being able to help them move just that little bit so they can reclaim their lives. I also love when my plan works and people get better!”
Nancy first came to Mercy Health in 2019 when she learned about a position in a new unit dedicated to geriatric psychiatry.
“It turned out the psychiatrist, Dr. Jonathan Lazzara, and I had already met socially through several psychiatrists we both knew,” she recalls. “It was exciting, and I knew I had to be here, so I started the interviewing process and I was offered the job!
“I really came into my own when I started working with Dr. Lazzara,” Nancy adds. “He encouraged me to just be myself and gave me a lot of his time to teach.”
While Nancy started at Mercy Health as a nurse practitioner in 2019, she’s worked in the behavioral health field for more than 30 years.
“I started as a master-prepared social worker in inner-city emergency departments,” she recalls. “That was quite a challenge. Many patients just come back often for many reasons and I was getting frustrated. The same problems unfortunately continue to exist; there are not enough outpatient practices and not enough resources for those who need them.”
“My friend noticed my earlier frustration and told me, ‘You should become a nurse practitioner in psychiatry,’” Nancy continues. “The rest is history.”
During her time in Springfield and Urbana, Nancy says behavioral health has really evolved. She originally worked in a behavioral health clinic but eventually moved into consulting work, which she loves.
“This is my passion, and it is truly what I want to be doing,” Nancy says. “The hospital has a great group of attendings and staff, and we all work well together.”
In addition to consulting on in-person behavioral health cases, Nancy recently became part of Mercy Health – Cincinnati‘s new telehealth psychiatry program, which offers consults in many multi-state emergency departments. “This is a great group of social workers and nurse practitioners who are working remotely together in behavioral health, providing psychiatric care to areas that are lacking that service,” she explains.
“I also love teaching,” Nancy adds. “I’m able to have students, and it’s just fantastic to see them get excited about working with behavioral health patients. It’s fun and they keep me learning more.”
Outside of work, Nancy enjoys unwinding with her husband. “My husband and I are empty nesters now,” she explains. “We love to go to movies, out to restaurants and enjoy our home in the country. We have a blast taking care of our three cats and two dogs.”
Nancy also partakes in a myriad of creative hobbies. “I love to craft – whether it is scrapbooking, making cards, crocheting or doing stain glass, I just like working with color,” she says. “It rests my soul and lets me feel refreshed and ready to go again.”
It’s APP Week! To all our advanced practice providers, we thank you for the excellent care you provide our patients every day!
Also, learn more about the behavioral health services we provide at Mercy Health.