APRN Transition to Practice Program

University Hospitals Behavioral Health Institute (BHI) is committed to further education and training of advanced practice providers. The APRN Transition to Practice Program has been developed for all new APRN graduates in order to provide didactics, clinical supervision, and mentorship in the first year of practice.

The mission of the University Hospitals Health System Behavioral Health Institute Transition to Practice Program is to enhance care and improve treatment outcomes for patients with psychiatric and substance abuse disorders through the development of expert nurse practitioners.

Program Goals

  • Provide advanced training and support, and thus increase confidence, for newly licensed advanced practice nurses within the BHI
  • Create an environment that encourages and retains novice to expert advanced practice nurses
  • Enhance evidenced based practice through competency based education
  • Support interdisciplinary treatment and education
  • Develop practitioners who are culturally sensitive
  • Assist new APRNs in meeting productivity goals
  • Expand the APRN professional role via teaching leadership skills

Program Objectives

Upon completion of TPP the new APRN will be able to:

  • Effectively manage a full caseload by maintaining expected productivity, and completing documentation and clinical tasks daily
  • Demonstrate mastery of psychiatric clinical competencies
  • Effectively collaborate with interdisciplinary team members and other clinical specialists to provide optimal patient care through weekly team meetings.
  • Achieve further development of the professional APRN role within the department of psychiatry, the hospital system, and the greater community by involvement in at least one committee or clinical program.

Program Components

  • Flexible schedule, starting with longer appointments
  • Weekly supervision with APRN Mentor and collaborating MD
  • Weekly APRN group experiences, including:
    • Case presentation, competency reflection, sharing of educational resources, and interdisciplinary educational presentations from expert clinicians
  • Weekly didactics in area of specialty, in collaboration with medical residents/fellows as applicable
  • Further career advancement through involvement in departmental, APRN, and system level opportunities

Program Director

Toby Bourisseau, APRN, CNS

Toby is a board-certified child/adolescent clinical nurse specialist. She graduated from CWRU Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing in 1999 and earned her MSN from Kent State University in 2004. Prior to her career as an APRN she spent 5 years working in various settings as a psychiatric nurse. Toby spent several years working in community mental health at Applewood Centers. She worked for 5 years at Cleveland Clinic. She has experience in treating a range of psychiatric conditions in children and adolescents including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychotic disorders, children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders, medical illness, eating disorders, trauma, and has a special interest in OCD and ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). Toby started her career at UHHS in 2016. In addition to her work as a clinician, Toby is the Lead APRN for the BHI, and Director of the BHI APRN Transition to Practice Program. Toby developed the Transition to Practice Program out of her passion for education, nurturing relationships, and supporting her colleagues in order to enhance their clinical practice and professional development.

Program Mentors

Natasha Ashcraft, DNP, APRN-CNP, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP

Natasha is a Doctorate prepared, board certified mental health and addiction nurse practitioner with experience in treating individuals with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. Natasha has been a nurse practitioner at University Hospitals Addiction Recovery Services since 2018 leading the ambulatory medical detox. Prior to coming to ARS in 2018, she worked in Stark County at a community mental health agency providing care to individuals with severe persistent mental illness and substance use disorders. She managed patients assigned to the Assertive Community Treatment Team, HOPE program and on the Crisis stabilization & detox units. Natasha has experience in medical detox, medication assisted treatment, outpatient and inpatient mental health.

Natasha has a passion for education and sharing her knowledge and skills with future nurse practitioners. She holds a Post Masters’ Degree in Nursing Education. Outside of clinical work, she coordinates a graduate Psychiatric Mental Health nursing program and is an Assistant Professor of Graduate Nursing at a local University. Within this role, she develops curriculum, leads adjunct faculty and prepares students for their transition to the Nurse Practitioner role.

Meghan Baron, APRN, CNP

Meghan has been a psychiatric nurse practitioner since 2018, and prior to that spent 7 years as a psychiatric registered nurse. She obtained her MSN with a concentration as a Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at Kent State University. She specializes in the management of mental health disorders of children, adolescents, and young adults with a special interest in acute care. She currently holds an outpatient clinic two days per week, and provides psychiatric management for children and adolescents enrolled in PHP and IOP three days per week.

Lindsey Irwin, MSN, PMHCNS-BS, PMHCNP-BC

Lindsey is a board-certified adult psychiatric clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner. She earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and nursing at Kent State University and received her master’s degree from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to her career as an APRN, she worked as an inpatient RN and nursing supervisor at Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare. As an APRN for 7 years, she’s worked as an inpatient provider at UH Geauga Medical Center, and at Southwest General’s Oakview Behavioral Health seeing adults on the inpatient unit, as well as in their Mental Health and Chemical Dependency PHP/IOP programs. She has experience treating adults with mood disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders, with a special interest in the treatment of severe and persistent mental illnesses. She is currently a student in the dual doctorate PhD/DNP program at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, with a research focus on functional disability in adults with serious mental illness.

Lindsey Kershaw, MSN, BSN, PMHNP-BC

Lindsey is a board certified adult mental health nurse practitioner with additional training in public and community psychiatry and addiction medicine. She has experience in treating adults with mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders, psychotic disorders, personality, and addiction diseases including vivitrol/buprenorphine treatment. Lindsey has been practicing as an advanced practice provider for the past 8 years, mostly focused in community mental health providing dual diagnosis treatment while working closely with a team of case managers and counselors. In addition, she has experience working on inpatient mental health units, in PHP/IOPs, and on inpatient consultations. Prior to becoming a nurse practitioner Lindsey worked as an RN on medical/surgical/trauma units and inpatient psychiatry for 6 years.

Peter Taylor, APRN-CNP, MSN, MN, RN, MBA, BA

Peter is an adult psychiatric nurse practitioner who has expertise working with the LGBTQIA+ community and training clinicians within the mental health field and Behavioral Health Institute regarding transition support services for transgender individuals. He is a three-time Daisy Award winner 01/2018, 08/2018 and 03/2019 at Metro Health Medical Center. Peter was one of five recipients of a HRSA grant from the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) Program conducting a study at Metro Health Hospital. He was a speaker at a 2020 University Hospitals Brown Bag Presentation “LGBTQ+ Community - A Rainbow of Colors” and presented at the 2021 APRN Psychopharmacology Series Presentation “Psychopharmacological Management with the LGBTQIA+ Community.”