Brooks is an energetic, dynamic presenter with over 30 years of experience in a variety of settings including hospital acute inpatient, outpatient case management, assertive community treatment, and community based mental health. She holds a Master’s from Medical University of South Carolina and is dual ANCC Board certified as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Adult Nurse Practitioner. Her passion is in treating clients with PTSD and anxiety disorders in a manner so each person can achieve a high level of wellness.
During her career with the Veterans Administration, Brooks has participated in award winning research studies in treating clients with PTSD. After many years of service in the Veterans Administration in South Carolina, she moved to Oregon State Hospital to work as the attending in a forensic psychiatric unit. Brooks was the first Nurse Practitioner to work in this capacity at Oregon State Hospital. Brooks is an affiliate faculty for Oregon Health Science University Nursing school. She served as Captain in the US Air Force as a flight nurse and is a veteran of Desert Storm.
Brooks has been married for 21 years to a wonderful man she says is her equal opposite. They have fraternal twins, a boy and a girl, who are completely different from each other in many ways. However, both are creative, thoughtful and loving. There are also two cats in the family: Captain and Carol. Carol is considered a co-worker because she supervises Brooks during her tele-psychiatric work at home. And let’s not forget about the fish named Bertha, making the family complete.
In 2010, Brooks and her family moved from Charleston, SC, to Portland, OR. Without ever having set foot in Oregon, they rented a home, secured jobs, and set off to travel the Oregon trail (and path of the eclipse) across the United States. When they reached Portland, before arriving at their condo, they went to Ikea, purchased a mattress, and tied it to the top of their car.
As a strong steward of our community, Brooks and her daughter help feed the homeless by volunteering with Potluck in the Park. She actively supports our environment through the Sierra Club, OSPRIG, NPR.
Brooks’ hobbies include photography, travel, collecting agates, salsa dancing, singing and walks with her daughter to see the local waterfalls. She also enjoys spending time with her son doing graphic art work and photo enhancement in Photoshop. From time to time, Brooks can be found frequenting estate sales and collecting antiques. Brooks finds peace in music. She loves to listen to classical music with Bach and Brahms being her favorite composers and Pinchas Zukerman her favorite violinist.
One thing that is interesting about Brooks is that she participated in pilot training with the Air Force. The training was never completed because she discovered how hard it is to drive a fighter jet in a straight line down the runway. She did go on to be a flight nurse with the 315th Charleston, SC, Air Force Base and is an Air Force Veteran of Desert Storm. She became interested in being a nurse because of guidance from her first step-mother, who was a nurse. Her mother was also very supportive of her decision to pursue nursing. However, it was during college that a professor helped her recognize she was a natural in psychiatry.
Professionally, Brooks’ good sense of humor, and her direct and to the point manner allow her to achieve her great heights with clients. Brooks’ main goals in working with clients are to provide a non-judgmental and supportive culture, developing a trusting relationship and being a strong advocate for their rights. She focuses her work on determining what is important to the client, reducing polypharmacy, and involving the family in development of a treatment plan.
Recently Brooks was awarded AHC’s “Best in Nursing” for education. Great accomplishment, Brooks. Congratulations!
De-escalation Techniques: Medications, Words & Actions -It is most important to understand the motives behind the behaviors of aggressive clients. This allows the clinician to choose appropriate de-escalation options, avoid violent outcomes, and preserve the client’s dignity. Client aggression is usually not personal, however, there may be very real and personal outcomes if healthcare staff are not trained to recognize and intervene in an effective manner. How can staff provide difficult clients a graceful way to exit a seemingly impossible situation? Every professional working with clients must accumulate a toolbox of personal safety skills and knowledge of effective medication options to reduce symptoms of depression, PTSD and psychosis.
Treatment Resistant Mental Health Therapies – Psychedelics are a class of drugs whose primary action is to trigger experiences via other serotonin receptor agonism, causing thought and visual/auditory changes. Major psychedelic drugs include mescaline, LSD, psilocybin, marijuana, MDMA and DMT. Studies conducted in a psychotherapeutic setting reveal that these drugs may assist with addressing treatment-resistant depression, alcoholism and nicotine addiction. Discussions will include legal issues, off-label use of unconventional medications, and non-pharmaceutical therapies in the treatment of specific mental health conditions.
The Traumatized Client: Promoting Wellness and Resilience – Establishing a trusting, therapeutic relationship with clients who have suffered mental trauma is the most important first step to a meaningful and successful treatment plan. No matter where you practice, you are bound to encounter a client who has suffered mental trauma. This mental trauma can lead to additional mental health disorders that increase the client’s complexity, making these clients very difficult to treat. This program will provide you with the insight and the proper skills to interact and manage clients who present with the most challenging mental conditions related to trauma including PTSD, TBI, personality disorders, panic disorder, and chronic pain.