Iris clinicians are at the heart of what makes our organization such a special place to work. That’s why we’re turning the spotlight on the amazing work they’re doing every day. This month, we’re sitting down to talk with Nicole Bradbury.
Q: How did you find Iris and decide you wanted to be an Iris provider?
A: There were a few things that made me decide I wanted to be an Iris provider. First, because of COVID, I realized that I enjoyed working from home. Additionally, I had just moved to San Antonio, and the traffic can get pretty busy during rush hour. Because of that, I was really open to telehealth. I looked through the Iris values and saw that a lot of employee reviews were positive, and people noted things like “lots of support” and “good working environments.” Since working here, I’ve definitely seen that as well.
During the interview process, I worked with Erin Schepman, the Manager of Clinical Talent, and she made everything super nice and relaxing. Then once I was hired, they were able to get me matched to an organization pretty quickly.
Q: What does a typical day as an Iris Telehealth provider look like for you?
A: I am a clinician for an agency in Arizona. I primarily work with children and families with mental illness and occasionally some adults. My typical day can vary depending on what I have scheduled. I’m still waiting to get my license, so right now, I help the clinical director with organization and help support the other therapists while we’re waiting to get more kids on my caseload. Which is actually great because it lets me understand their system better.
Q: What do you love about being a telepsychiatry provider?
A: There are a lot of different benefits to telepsychiatry. For one, I love finding new ways to engage with the kids. I’ve found websites where I can interact with them virtually, like “Let’s play Uno and talk about feelings!” It’s fun to find new ways to explore engaging with the children, especially the younger ones.
It’s also nice that I can step outside with my dogs after a tough session, take a deep breath, and then come back in and prepare for the next session without seeing patients back to back. I can take five minutes and breathe. I think that’s a big benefit, especially because the burnout rates in the field can be so high. Telepsychiatry offers a lot of opportunities for self-care.
Q: How do you foster connection with patients virtually?
A: I try to find different ways to connect with my patients. For many kids, it’s just being there, listening. But, for the younger ones or those who don’t want to be in therapy, I try to find games for us to play, or I ask them what they like to do and what they like about it.
I think COVID has helped the kids get a lot more comfortable with technology – they can log into Zoom on their own quickly. But some kids are not ideal for telehealth because some of them are way too active to where they might need in-person or play therapy. However, a lot of the older kids engage really well.
Q: As a healthcare professional, how do you manage work-life balance?
A: One of the main things I learned from doing telehealth during COVID was having a space for work. I have a dedicated space for work, so when I step out of the room, away from my computer, I’m just focused on home and life.
Q: What are your biggest learnings from your time at Iris?
A: I feel like I’m constantly learning something new. For example, one thing I’ve learned is that in-person care and telehealth offer the same benefits. You can still build the same connection and rapport whether it’s telehealth or in-person. In my own experience, telehealth is just as effective as in-person, and I’m sure studies show that as well.
One thing I’m really appreciative of with Iris is that they placed me in an agency with an amazing supervisor. So, not only is there support from Iris, but there’s support from my supervisor at the agency I’m providing services to. So, it’s a great fit and I feel that I’m valued at both organizations. I’m very appreciative of that.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: One of the most rewarding parts of the job is seeing the progress my patients make and looking at how far they’ve come. You get to be with them on their journeys. It’s also great seeing parents learn and grow just as much as the kids.
There was one kid who gave me a small encouragement. They said, “I was really looking forward to this session!” I was like, “Really? You’re looking forward to therapy? Okay!” So sometimes, it’s those small moments that help during the more challenging sessions. It’s a great feeling to be there through the hard times and then see them rejoice when they get through the valleys.
Q: Why do you think telepsychiatry is important to the future of mental healthcare?
A: Telepsychiatry provides certain flexibility and helps reach those who may experience difficulty with access. For example, a lot of kids are busy after school. However, if they get home before their parents, they can hop on Zoom, so their parents don’t have to take off work and drive. Telepsychiatry is super beneficial, and it’s going to help parents and kids with time management.
Q: What do you love about working with Iris?
A: One of the things I love about working with Iris is the support. For example, Drew Sadler, the Clinician Operations Manager, has provided amazing support and the IT team is always ready to help. I also love knowing that there are opportunities to get funds for CEUs, so if there’s a certain training I want, I can take a class. Other pluses are office supplies, getting a desk, and getting a chair. Before I got here, I didn’t have those things, but Iris was there to help me get set up.
I’ve also really appreciated the help Iris has provided with licensing. Licensing has been a hassle and without Iris, I wouldn’t have made it. I don’t know that I would have known all the steps to take or if I would have been as proactive. I would have been lost without their help.
At Iris, we believe our providers should be respected, valued, and applauded for the work they do, and we couldn’t be more proud to say, “thank you” to our very own Nicole Bradbury. If you’d like to learn more about working for Iris Telehealth, contact us today.