Virginia Gay Hospital and Clinics recently added Samantha Ferguson, PMHNP, (psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner) to its staff of medical providers and she beganseeing patients on Monday, December 3rd. Samantha received her bachelor of science in nursing and her doctor of nursing practice degrees from the University of Iowa. Her advanced mental health training included opportunities with the Veterans Administration hospital in Iowa City and Broadlawns in Des Moines.

 “I use two therapies with my patients,” explained Samantha, “I use interpersonal therapy to work through issues involving relationships, and cognitive therapy to work through issues related to distorted thinking. My focus is on these functional therapies because both improve our coping skills and our social interactions.”

Samantha is looking forward to helping Virginia Gay establish mental health services as part of primary care for patients. “Virginia Gay is committed to the integration of behavioral health with primary care,” said Samantha, “and that’s why I am excited to be here. The medical staff and the entire team is clearly enthusiastic about the good things we can do for patients by offering the two healthcare disciplines under one roof.”

Melissa Macku, Clinic Director for Virginia Gay, explained that Samantha’s role is to provide mental health services to the patients of Virginia Gay’s primary care providers. “From the start, our goal has been to expand the scope of what Virginia Gay providers can do for their patients,” said Macku. “We believe Samantha’s schedule will be quite busy with the needs of our patients, and for that reason, we will only accept referrals from the primary care providers of our four clinics. We wish we could do more because the need is so great, but what we want to avoid are patients being shortchanged because we’ve let Samantha’s caseload grow beyond what one person can manage.”

If you are in need of mental health services, contact your Virginia Gay medical provider at Atkins Family Medical Clinic: (319) 446-7800; Urbana Family Medical Clinic: (319) 443-5000; Van Horne Family Medical Clinic: (319) 228-8000; Vinton Family Medical Clinic: (319) 472-6300.

For additional information about Virginia Gay Hospital, Clinics, Home Health, Nursing & Rehab, please visit www.myvgh.org.