Get to Know Me
My Personal Statement
My name is Cheneen Austin. I am a board certified psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner specializing the treatment of substance use disorders. I have been a registered nurse since 2008 and discovered behavioral health nursing during my first year of practice when I worked in an inpatient substance use disorder treatment facility. I have always felt that behavioral health nursing was where I wanted to advance my career and through my education and experience in this area, I have been given that opportunity. I am focused, determined, & persistent and a stalwart advocate for the clients under my care.
Evidence shows that disenfranchised populations experience behavioral health disorders at an alarmingly high rate. That being said, I seek to be an advocate for those struggling with behavioral health issues, particularly amongst members of LGBTQ, veteran, HIV-positive, elderly, and minority populations. I believe firmly in a team approach to behavioral health care and have experienced the benefits of working with a close-knit, like-minded, motivated team. As a result of this team approach, my clients have experienced healing and restoration to wellness when they are supported and their needs are met (in alignment with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) as they are free to focus on recovering from their debilitating behavioral health disorders.
The healthcare organization I work for has experienced my passion firsthand as I have been a part of the implementation of four different behavioral health programs during my time with them. Those programs range from the community setting with the implementation of the Residential Intensive Support Team (RIST) and Supportive Housing (SH) programs (which utilize a “housing-first” model to support clients in their recovery) to the home-care setting where I had the privilege of assisting clients in every area from trauma recovery to processing through the death and dying experience.
My immediate goals include working to improve health outcomes for clients, seeking evidence-based interventions to address substance use disorder treatment, and furthering the mission of the organization within which I work. These goals are manifested in my latest project, the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) which combines behavioral health, substance abuse, and biopsychosocial treatment components into one comprehensive program.
My future goals include advocating for positive change in the behavioral healthcare industry and advancing legislation that positively impacts those with whom I work (both co-workers and clients). I will use my vast experience, my skills sets, and my passion for the disenfranchised to educate local, state, and federal legislators about the needs of those with behavioral health disorders and suggest ways to improve our current healthcare system.
Nurses have many career paths in which they can walk. Behavioral health nursing is not often a first-choice career path for nurses (I’ve even heard it defined as “a special calling”) however it is my first-choice career path. My choice to pursue behavioral health nursing will have a lasting impact on all of those with whom I have the privilege of working. And, as the great poet Robert Frost once wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”