Path works with exceptional psychiatric providers from all backgrounds. In this Provider Spotlight, we chatted with Path’s Lead Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, April Bodily.
She tells us about her calling to nursing, why joining the Path team aligned with her values for putting patients first, and clears up some common misconceptions about receiving psychiatric care via telehealth.
How did you get into the field of psychiatry?
Nursing was my calling from the time I was born! It’s a part of who I am and it feels like it’s what I was truly meant to do. I started my career as an emergency room nurse working with people in some of their most painful and vulnerable moments. During that time, I often found myself wondering what happened to my patients after our brief time together in the ER. I realized that I longed for a deeper connection with the people I cared for. So after several years I went back to school to get my master’s degree in nursing and became a family nurse practitioner.
Fast forward a few years and while I loved the long-term patient relationships I got to build in the primary care setting, a challenge emerged that I couldn’t ignore. While working at a community-based outpatient clinic, I witnessed a devastating lack of access to mental healthcare, especially for veterans. I saw this lack of support negatively impact my patients’ lives in so many ways and I knew I wanted to be a part of a solution.
So once again I returned to school and got a post-masters certification in psychiatric mental healthcare. In many ways, the timing was perfect and I became a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner just as the world of telehealth was expanding due to the pandemic.
Learning to leverage technology in my practice allowed me to reach a much broader range of people in need of support. It was amazing to see what a difference that access made for people in rural areas, for people who couldn’t leave their homes, and for people who couldn’t otherwise access psychiatric care.
Why did you join the Path team?
To be honest, at the time I found Path, I think I was looking for something that I wasn’t sure existed. I wanted to work with a company that actually put the needs of patients first. I wanted to feel supported to offer the best care for my patients, not just do whatever would yield the biggest profits for payers. In the past, I had worked in so many places that put profit above everything and it never sat well with me. For my own mental health, I knew I couldn’t go back to that.
So when I came across a posting about Path’s patient-first approach I was super intrigued. And after speaking with Josh Bruno, Path’s CEO, it was clear that we had a shared set of values around patient care. I knew I wanted to be a part of what he was building and once again the timing was right! Path was just starting their mental health medication management and prescribing program and I came on board as their second psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner.
What do you do at Path?
For my first 18 months at Path, I supported patients as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. I worked with patients to better understand their struggles so that we could find solutions together. So often, patients tell me that the reason that their relationship with their past provider didn’t work out is that they didn’t feel heard. So my number one priority is to listen and help my patients get their needs met. And almost always, this involves a combination of therapy and medication that we can adjust over time.
Just recently, my role with Path changed and now I’m working as a Lead Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. So in addition to working with patients, I’m also examining our processes and looking for opportunities to provide even better care for patients and more support for providers. I love this part of my job because I get to help guide Path’s growth in a way that helps us stay true to our mission — making outstanding mental healthcare available to as many people as possible.
What’s a misconception that patients have about telehealth?
Oof there’s lots of those! There are two common misconceptions that I think do the most harm. One is that I’m only going to spend two seconds with my patients. And the second is that the only solution I have to offer is medication.
Yes, prescribing medication is absolutely an important part of the work I do. But there is so much misinformation out there about that aspect of treatment. Patients often express concerns that if they start taking medication they’ll need to be on it for life. That understandably scares people! So when that comes up I remind my patients that just because they’re in a dark moment, it won’t last forever. This is just one season of their life and our goal with medication is to help make things better during this season. I stress that no matter which medication I prescribe, we’ll be using the lowest dose for the shortest period of time to treat the most symptoms possible. And that it’s not necessarily something they’ll be on forever.
What’s your best advice about finding a psychiatric provider who’s a good fit for you?
I’d say that it’s important to keep an open mind. Just because you had one bad experience with a provider doesn’t mean that every experience in the future will be bad. While it can be difficult to try again, especially when you’re struggling with your mental health, don’t give up. We aren’t all the same and the right provider for you is out there, it just may take a few tries to find them. Also, I want to acknowledge that starting treatment can feel like an overwhelming process. So don’t be afraid to ask for help!
What would you say to people wondering if Path is the right option for them?
Telehealth isn’t for everybody. But you won’t know if it works for you until you try it.
Many people are uncomfortable with telehealth because it’s different and new. For folks who aren’t “internet natives,” the idea of talking with a provider via the computer can be kind of scary. But it really can be an opportunity to connect and you can develop a great relationship with someone through the computer.
So if you’re wondering if Path is right for you, I would say give it a try! Don’t close your heart or mind to telehealth unless you’ve given it at least a few tries. And remember that if you don’t have a good experience with one provider you do have the opportunity to work with someone else.
What do you wish more people understood about seeking psychiatric care?
We all struggle with something. And being able to reach out and get help is not a sign of weakness — actually, it’s a sign of strength.
Path is a company that was started out of love for others. The people here really do care and want to help. You’re not a burden. You matter. You are enough as you are. Sometimes it just takes someone else to hold up a mirror for you to be able to see that. So if you need support, please reach out and ask for help.
What’s the most meaningful part of your work?
I want people to know that, for me, this isn’t just a job. I truly love what I do and I feel so blessed to be able to do it. I get to witness people realizing that they don’t have to keep feeling like there’s nothing left to live for. There is no way to describe what it’s like to watch someone find joy and peace and reconnect with their purpose and passion.
I’ve seen people on the brink of no longer wanting to live go on to lead amazing, fulfilling lives. But these transformations aren’t about me; they happen through the strength of the human connection. It’s a bond that helps people realize that they matter.
Any final thoughts?
To anyone reading this, I want you to remember that you matter and your life is valuable. You are loved. You are worthy. And you are enough. If you’re ever feeling like those things aren’t true, please reach out for support. It doesn’t have to be from Path, it can be from anyone who cares. Find someone who will listen and ask for help.
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