Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
Career Corner - Lauren Tronsgard-Scott
Q & A
Lauren Tronsgard-Scott is nurse manager of inpatient psychiatry at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Recognized by her peers with several of Fletcher Allen’s highest leadership and team honors over the past few years, she puts an extraordinary focus on serving her patients and in developing the strengths of her care team – promoting a positive, cohesive work atmosphere.
After Tropical Storm Irene rendered the Vermont State Hospital uninhabitable, Lauren, her team, and many others across Fletcher Allen and in our community worked together to bring several additional seriously ill patients to our inpatient psychiatry unit for care. Since that time, Fletcher Allen has faced an increased demand for high-quality mental health professionals to serve this patient population.
Q: Lauren, what led you to pursue a career in mental health?
A: When I was going to nursing school, during my clinical rotations I liked to try to imagine where I’d like to spend my career. When I arrived in inpatient psychiatry, I felt this was definitely where I belonged. My very first job as a new graduate was on an inpatient Psychiatric unit. I felt like this was the reason for me being a nurse.
Q: What are the particular rewards and challenges you and your team face in caring for this population?
A: The rewards are many. You have the privilege to work with patients and families in crisis. As a result, the care you provide, and the conversations you have with them, are a very intimate experience. You are working with people to bring them to the point where they can be fully functional in the community, to assist people in repairing relationships with family, or returning to work. To see people leave here and return to their lives and make progress, to be part of that recovery is really powerful.
As for the challenges, this is a field that you enter because it is a calling. The staff is here because this is truly where they want to be, working with patients in crisis. You don’t come to work here if you don’t want to do that.
Q: What do you find most inspiring in your field?
A: As a manager, I find the staff here so amazing to work with – they are here for the right reasons. As for the patients, mental illness doesn’t recognize cultural or financial barriers – it can affect anyone. If a family member or co-worker of yours is affected, then it affects you too. Mental illness touches us all. But, I’m so impressed by the resilience people have to get better. Most people who come here have hope to get better, and they do a lot of work to get better. It’s amazing to see what people can do for themselves, the changes they can make in their own lives, with just a little attention from others. Sometimes, that’s all they need, and it’s what we can give them.
Q: For folks thinking about a career as a mental health technician, what advice would you have? What specific skills are you looking for to round out your care team?
A: One of the things I’m most proud of us our multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Here, mental health technicians, nurses, and doctors have equal value when it comes to patient care – ours is very much a team approach.
We’re looking for people to complement that team. We can teach anyone the tools they will need to be successful – therapeutic communications and de-escalation techniques – but you need to have a strong desire to do this work. Experience is a plus, but it’s not necessary if this is a calling for you. When I meet someone who says they may not know a lot about mental illness, but they’ve somehow been touched by it, and they want to have this experience –those are the people I hire because they want to come here and be a part of the team.
Considering a career in Mental Health?
It’s an exciting time to join us, and Fletcher Allen is hiring! See employment opportunities for more information.