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     Rome Memorial Hospital’s Senior Behavioral Health Unit names new nurse manager

    Janine M. Little, RN, BSN, has been named nurse manager of the Senior Behavioral Health Unit (SBHU) at Rome Memorial Hospital, announced Wendy R. Goetz, FACHE, LNHA, MBA, Administrator.

    Rome Memorial Hospital’s Senior Behavioral Health Care Unit provides individualized care for adults 55 and older who are suffering from acute symptoms associated with a major mental health illness, such as clinical depression, anxiety disorders or bi-polar illness. Inpatient hospitalization offers stabilization and treatment for adults in crisis, who are experiencing serious behavioral or mental changes.

     “Janine brings more than 15 years of experience in psychiatric nursing to her new position, including several years working here in the SBHU,” Goetz said. “Her focus on geriatric and psychiatric patient support includes assessment and counseling, education regarding medications and treatment, documentation with care plan for diagnosis and administration of treatment procedures. We are happy to have someone with Janine’s skill level and experience in the role of nurse manager of the SBHU.” 

    Little graduated from Hartwick College, Oneonta, with a bachelor of science degree in nursing. She has certification in Preventing and Managing Crisis Situations, Crisis Prevention Intervention: Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, as well as Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support, CPR for the Professional Rescuer, Certification for NYS Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention, and Infection Control and Barrier Precautions.

    “I am extremely happy to be back at Rome Memorial Hospital and the SBHU,” Little said. “I worked as a unit nurse at the SBHU more than 12 years ago. I have learned over the years that geriatric psychiatric nursing is where I am meant to be.”

    Little explained that psychiatric nursing not only encompasses the physical well-being of a person, but specializes in the mental health and emotional well-being of a patient. Psychiatric nursing focuses on educating patients about coping skills, which can be learned at any stage in life and are essential in the management of crisis situations.

    “I believe in a holistic approach to psychiatric nursing,” Little said. “It is rewarding for me to work with both the physical and mental health of a patient along with his/her family. Patients will occasionally come into the hospital with a mental health crisis, and being able to comfort a patient and/or the family and work with that patient to calm him/her down is its own reward. It is also very rewarding to know that you have helped to change the life of a patient, even in a small way, in order for them to be discharged back into the community functioning at his or her highest level of independence.”

    In addition to her psychiatric nursing responsibilities, as nurse manager Little will be responsible for facilitation of services between patients and staff to ensure optimal care of the patient and family in crisis.

    “I also track quality of individual care and perform patient care audits to identify problems and implement action plans in order to educate and implement a higher standard of care,” Little said. “Providing and promoting evidence-based best practice and providing education to personnel are on-going areas of responsibility. Knowing the role government plays in health care, and its effects on that care are important areas, again, to ensure compliance with policies and high standards of quality care.”

    “I have 24 hour accountability for all patient care activities, day to day unit operations and staff functions here on SBHU,” Little continued. “I collaborate and assist with establishing goals and direction for the unit. I have to also make sure that those goals and direction of the unit complement the hospital's mission and strategic plan.”

    According to Little, one of the challenges of working in psychiatric nursing is the stigma involved with mental health issues.

    “Society has long shunned those who have mental health issues, so much so that even mentioning something as innocuous as seeing a mental health professional sometimes elicits a negative response,” Little said. “Being able to deal with mental health issues first involves being able to discuss the problem with others. That’s why it is so important to me to make sure the patients that reach out for help, get the help they need; whether it's hospital-based acute care, or community-based assistance. SBHU provides a safe environment for those transitions.”

    The Senior Behavioral Health Unit can take admissions seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to meet the needs of older adults in crisis. For more information, please call 315.338.7399.

    Rome Memorial Hospital has earned special designation as a NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) facility for providing quality care for older adult patients.


    Janine Little 
    Janine M. Little, RN, BSN