Honoring Heroic N.J. Nurses in the Pandemic: Deborra Torres

 In Nurses Weekly

As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, Deborra
Torres, MPA, MSN, PMHNP, BC, NJSNA Region
5 member, recognizes the critical need of the mental
health population during this pandemic. Deborra
explains, “In addition to patient’s usual issues with
their mental health diagnoses, they are dealing with
some insurmountable issues which cause added stress
and anxiety such as the loss of family members and
inability to be there to say appropriate goodbyes,
having to homeschool children for the first time with
no internet connections and/or knowledge how to
use the technology to facilitate learning, and loss of
income as many work under the table and may not be
eligible for unemployment benefits.”

The greatest challenge for Deborra has been
having to work remotely in her role as Psychiatric
APN for Preferred Behavioral Health in Lakewood.
Learning new technology in order to implement
telehealth procedures with minimal to no training
(both staff and patients), changing the way we do
EVERYTHING from insurance medication appeals,
getting patients sample drugs, transitioning patients
on injectable medication, helping patients connect
with additional resources if needed, and assisting
people with the grieving process in addition to their
many other issues. For all, days are much longer than
usual due to the incredible need of our patients and
the extra steps necessary just to get the job done on
a remote basis.

Deborra is grateful for her coworkers:
therapists, case managers, nurses and other support
staff, because together, they make it all happen.

The rewards in her practice are really feeling like
you made a difference. Deborra describes, “Patients
are so much more needy right now and loneliness
is as much of a pandemic as the virus. Developing
closer therapeutic alliances with the patients is also
occurring and they are so appreciative.”

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