Faculty practice provides faculty members with the opportunity to be engaged in their area of expertise. As leaders of exemplary, innovative, and culturally proficient faculty engagement, faculty members fulfill the mission of the UA Capstone College of Nursing’s Faculty Practice Committee. The Faculty Practice Committee strives to increase the visibility of the school of nursing by spotlighting the practice of faculty members as they practice in community agencies. Practice sites are diverse and represent the expertise and background preparation of faculty engaged in faculty practice. Faculty “spotlights” are updated multiple times annually to showcase the exceptional work of faculty practice members. Be sure to return to this webpage in the future to learn about the practice of other faculty members!

Ann Couch: Clinical Assistant Professor

Clinical Assistant Professor

Tell us about your role at CCN

I started in 2020 as an Adjunct Clinical Faculty within the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) program.   I am currently a Clinical Track Associate Professor working with students in this graduate program.  I have also been a guest speaker in undergraduate courses regarding mental health.  I mentor First-Generation undergraduate students as well as serving as a faculty advisor for Doctor of Nursing (DNP) students.

Tell us about your faculty practice

I am a Psychiatric Nurse Practitione (PMHNP) with a weekly Faculty Practice at Grayson & Associates in their outpatient clinic in Anniston, AL.  This is in the North-Eastern part of Alabama.  Our office has two psychiatrists and two nurse practitioners, as well as four therapists in addition to our administrative staff.  Although Anniston itself is not a rural area, we draw from several surrounding counties that are rural. 

What patient population do you serve?

I see mostly adults, although I have treated all ages from age 8 and up.  Many of my patients are also elderly and some live in a long-term care facility.

Tell us about a typical day in your faculty practice

I get to clinic in the morning to review messages and refill requests and try to get the majority of those competed before clinic starts at 9AM.  I will see patients with a variety of chronic mental health diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  I am in clinic until 5pm or so completing charts and ensuring all prescriptions have been sent in as well as messages responded to.  Until recently, I also saw patients in a long-term care facility twice a month. 

How do you incorporate evidence-based research into your faculty practice?

Staying on top of the evidence-based research is very important when it comes to mental health treatment.  I enjoy reading articles about mental health treatment options and diagnosing.  I also go to several conferences a year to ensure that I am keeping up with the best treatment options. 

Bipolar disorder is often mis-diagnosed for many years before a patient sees a mental health provider.  I utilize screening tools and spend more time gathering a patient history to come to the best diagnosis and therefore treatment, for my patients.  I also incorporate patient education regarding wellness in addition to diagnoses.  The whole body needs to be treated, in addition to the mind.

I plan to continue to work in mental health as long as possible.  I enjoy what I do and feel that it is a calling on my life to work with those battling mental health issues and wellness. 

What changes have you seen in your area of expertise in the last several years?

There’s been a noticeable shift towards prioritizing mental health care and a gradual decrease in stigma among community members. And although there is an increase in providers, there is also a large percentage of burn-out in this field.  Addressing the needs of the patient as well as the provider is an important aspect to keep in mind. 

How does your practice contribute to the mission of the Faculty Practice Committee and CCN?

There is such a need for mental health providers, and I feel blessed to be a part of the PMHNP program that is helping the next generation to fill this gap.  I am also thankful to be a part of this committee.  Mental health is a component of all specialties, even though it may not be something you specifically treat.  Being able to collaborate with others to make a difference in our patient’s lives is so rewarding. 

Archived Faculty Practice Spotlights

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