Upstate News

October 20, 2008
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

SUNY Upstate eyes North Country for new nursing programs to meet need in region

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — SUNY Upstate Medical University is considering the creation of new educational programs in the Watertown area to address significant shortages among healthcare providers specializing in mental health and primary care.

“The current shortage of medical professionals, especially in mental health and primary care, leads to delays in treatment and sicker patients,” said Elvira Szigeti, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing. “Through education, we can help reduce the critical shortage of medical professionals and make preventive care our first step to building a healthier New York.”

Szigeti said SUNY Upstate’s College of Nursing is looking into the feasibility of offering its popular Family Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner programs in the Watertown area.

The family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is the second most sought-after nurse practitioner specialty in the state, Szigeti said. “These professionals are in demand because they bring to an underserved area skills that might not otherwise be available.”

A family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner is able to provide children and adults with primary mental healthcare, including the diagnosis of mental illness, medication management and family and group therapy, as well as mental health promotion. They provide mental healthcare to families in a number of settings, including clinics, physician offices, shelters and other areas.

The Family Nurse Practitioner program will provide primary care with a focus on maintaining and promoting health, as well as diagnose and manage acute and chronic illnesses.
Nurse practitioners can prescribe medications and treatments and collaborate with physicians on other treatment protocols.

Both programs, if offered, would be available to registered nurses with bachelor’s or master’s degrees. The courses would be offered in Syracuse at SUNY Upstate Medical University and in the Watertown area.

Individuals interested in receiving more information on the program, should call 315-464-4570 or 800-736-2171 or email with NP North in the subject line.

SUNY Upstate Medical University is the region’s only academic medical center, serving the healthcare needs of more than 17 counties throughout Upstate New York.

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