Q&A with Our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Meet Kris Vandenberg, the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at APN Lodge.
Kris Vandenberg is the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at APN Lodge. She is responsible for psychiatric care - mainly medication management. If you come in and are struggling with sleep issues, depression, anxiety, or other conditions, Kris will take the lead to help you determine the best way forward. She collaborates with the rest of the multidisciplinary team to identify the best recommendations and interventions for your specific need. Sometimes this includes medication, and sometimes it does not.
In our Meet Kris Vandenberg video, she answers a bunch of commonly asked questions from referents, clients, potential clients, and family members looking for treatment for a loved one. Check out the video or read below to find out what she has to say about her work at APN Lodge as our Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
Kris has worked in psychiatry for almost 30 years.
She started as a Registered Nurse then got a master's in Nursing Education. She then became a Psychiatric Nurse Practioner and a Family Nurse Practitioner. Kris's doctorate combines both of these disciplines. She has learned to practice integrative medicine that blends the psychiatric and medical pieces of care.
Her Road to Psychiatry
When Kris was 17, her grandmother committed suicide. It was a very hard time for Kris, and she didn't understand much about psychiatry. When Kris started nursing school, psychiatry was something she was especially interested in exploring. She found that she was able to engage with psychiatry and mental health patients to form a meaningful connection. That propelled her into psychiatry.
Does APN Lodge offer holistic care in addition to medication?
Absolutely. Kris is both a family nurse practitioner and a psychiatric nurse practitioner, so she feels strongly about treating the whole person with a well-rounded approach. Some clients don't need medication. Kris and her team work to get a complete picture of your background, lifestyle, circumstances, and conditions to help you best determine how to move forward.
Let's say you come to the Lodge and are having trouble sleeping. Kris and her team will help you examine sleep hygiene and patterns (looking at your phone before sleeping, watching tv late at night, etc.) rather than relying on medication only. Some clients don't need to be on medication at all. Medication management is only one factor of treatment from the nursing and medical staff at APN Lodge.
What differentiates APN Lodge?
Kris would say it's the integrative care approach and multidisciplinary team working together to provide such comprehensive care. She has worked in quite a variety of PHP and IOP centers over her career. The collaboration between the medical provider, dietitian, therapists, and nursing teams differentiates it from other treatment centers.
What is involved in integrative care at APN Lodge?
Kris says she believes the greatest part about APN Lodge is the integrative and collaborative team. The dietitian, medical provider, nursing team, and therapy teams work together to meet all of the client's needs. Dietary needs, sleep needs, medical needs, and mental health needs can exist alone but often overlap.
For example, for some, altitude can cause high blood pressure. And high blood pressure can affect anxiety. So Kris and the medical provider will work together to treat both the high blood pressure and anxiety.
Do all the teams meet up together?
Yes! The treatment team meets together once a week for a formal treatment meeting, but they also collaborate throughout the week.
Can APN Lodge help clients struggling with altitude?
Clients that come from other states do often struggle to get used to the altitude. Altitude can affect sleep, mood, and even anxiety. The medical and nursing teams at APN Lodge work as a cohesive unit to help you figure out the best way to handle adjusting to the altitude. That may be medication, oxygen management, or other interventions.
What is the most common issue Kris treats with clients?
The most common issue with clients at the Lodge tends to be insomnia. This is partially due to altitude but also due to the unknown of what will be coming during and after treatment. We ask you to take treatment day-by-day, but it can be difficult not to think too far ahead. Insomnia and anxiety are the two most common factors Kris works on with clients.
How long does it take to get back into a sleep schedule after altitude change?
It usually takes about 3-5 days to adjust.
What is the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner's philosophy on medication and treatment?
Kris says that when you look at psychiatric medication, there is a lot of stigma associated with it. She believes there is a time and a place where psychiatric medication is beneficial, but there is also a time and a place medicine is not needed.
At Kris's private practice, about 25% of her patients come in on medication and leave without medication. These particular patients don't need medication at the time. They instead work on lifestyle, sleep hygiene, or therapy.
Overall, Kris and APN Lodge as a whole believe that medication is sometimes needed and sometimes not. It's her goal to help clients achieve health and well-being with or without medication, depending on the case.
Is medication required at APN Lodge?
Our philosophy at APN Lodge (and Kris's philosophy) as a psychiatric provider is to make you part of the treatment team not to tell you what to do. It's a team approach. Kris will talk to you about medications that could benefit you, but her purpose is to educate you and answer your questions. You'll never be required to take a medication.
How often does Kris come to campus to treat clients?
Kris comes up to the Lodge once a week to see clients, but she is pretty much available 7 days a week. When new clients come in, she works to see them within 48 hours to do a psychiatric evaluation and see what services or help she can provide them.
If I come to the Lodge, what will our interactions be like?
Once you are admitted to the Lodge, Kris will schedule an initial appointment to see you - usually within 48-72 hours. During that time, she will gather your psychiatric history. Depending on what you need, she may meet with you weekly or even more frequently. Even if you aren't on medication, she will still touch base with you (depending on your level of care). She will meet with you to keep following up on anxiety, depression, sleep, etc. These things can change continually during treatment, so it's important to Kris that she's with you to support you through all of that.
How often does Kris see clients in residential treatment?
If you're in residential treatment, you'll meet with Kris weekly.
How often does Kris see clients in PHP treatment?
If you're at a PHP level and taking medications, you'll meet with Kris weekly. If you've been at the Lodge awhile, you're stable, and not on medications, she'll see you once every other week.
What if a client has a psychiatrist already?
If you have a provider outside APN Lodge already, that's great! We'll ask you to sign a release of information if you're comfortable with it. That way, Kris can contact your psychiatrist or other provider to fill them in on your treatment and get them on board to collaborate together as much as possible.