Nicole Bryson-Beatrice, GT, Group Associate, UMass Memorial – Marlborough Hospital
Nicole Bryson-Beatrice leads the group therapy sessions for patients admitted to the behavioral health unit at UMass Memorial – Marlborough Hospital. She works with adult patients admitted to the hospital for psychiatric, behavioral health, and mental health care. For these patients, group sessions with Nicole offer a place to build on their strengths and share with their peers in a safe, supportive environment.
A former teacher, Nicole went back to school to earn her psychology degree. She helps patients work on anxiety and stress management, staying in the moment, self-esteem, and other skills, using writing and arts and crafts to give patients a creative outlet for their thoughts and emotions. Her goal is for patients to learn from each other as they progress through their stay at Marlborough Hospital. It can be a slow process, but very rewarding.
“Today, for example, we ran a self-motivation group," she said. "I had one client tell me they had done this therapy 10,000 times before, but today the light went on for them. Those are the moments that give me great job satisfaction."
Nicole relies on the other group leaders to communicate their observations on patients they share across shift times. “That communication is critical; it makes a big difference in being able to deliver care effectively,” she said. Some patients with chronic mental illness return to the hospital repeatedly. Nicole and her fellow caregivers remain upbeat, meeting these patients where they are today. "I always try to say, 'Hi, how are you? What can we do to help make your stay a good stay?'" she said. "For all of us here, it's a new day. We want to lift patients up."
Though the work has its up and downs, Nicole knows she's making a positive impact in patients' lives. "The end goal is to help patients get stabilized and back into the world, with the tools they need to live with," she said. "When patients walk out of group in a good mood, or say, 'Thank you, that group was great, I learned a lot'...that's when I know I've made a difference."