Thrive by IU Health

November 16, 2023

Psychiatric nurse practitioner: ‘This is my second career’

Psychiatric nurse practitioner: ‘This is my second career’

Carter Cramer had a close-up view of the healthcare field but it wasn’t until later that he pursued the path of nursing.

By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist,

His supervisors applaud Carter Cramer’s professionalism, decision-making, and advocacy during difficult situations. They talk about his knack of collaborating and assessing and reassessing patients.

In his role as Team Lead Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, Cramer not only performs clinical duties; he also oversees and manages the provider team of nurse practitioners and psychiatrists. He was also the first clinician hired in his department when it was still in the conceptual stages. Now, that virtual behavioral care unit services 17 different emergency departments, and 10 urgent care clinics, and numerous inpatient medical units. The primary role of the team is to provide psychiatric consultations.

Carter, 39, is originally from New York City. He started his career working in the nutrition and fitness sector. He received an undergraduate degree in sociology from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. After seven years of living and working in NYC post-college, he moved to Vermont to complete a post-baccalaureate pre-health program at The University of Vermont.

“While I was in school, I was working part time for a woman with cerebral palsy. She raved about her psychiatric provider. I drove her to her appointments with this nurse practitioner and this piqued my interest,” said Carter. He enrolled in nursing school at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn, where he completed his master’s in science in psychiatric mental health advanced practice nursing. He later went on to complete his doctorate at Missouri State University, Springfield, Mo., and landed in Indiana in 2018 when his partner moved to the state for work.

“Carter is knowledgeable, competent and compassionate while leading and simultaneously educating others, staffing with team members and assessing patients,“ said his manager. “He is proficient and efficient in multitasking and prioritizing every need on and off the shift. This makes him a trusted, respected and invaluable team member. His tenacity and commitment to our team and work aligns with our value of excellence. Carter is the first to say, ‘yes’ in any situation - this includes filling staffing gaps, and his willingness to engage and resolve challenging and complex behavioral health cases.”

This week is Nurse Practitioner Week - a time to recognize the valuable contributions of IU Health’s nurse practitioners.

Cramer describes one time when he was working with an elderly terminally ill patient. The patient exhibited signs of severe depression and Cramer was able to work with the patient’s spouse to create a safety plan.

“The spouse expressed gratitude and felt more comfortable having a plan in place. Having access to our service prevented this patient from being sent to the ED for further assessment. Through virtual care, we are able to meet the patients where they are,” said Cramer.

His patients are what Cramer likes best about his role with IU Health. “I’m doing acute psychiatric and crisis work so I’m seeing patients in the emergency department at one of their greatest times of need. Being able to provide them with timely care at such a vulnerable point in their lives is both important for the patient and personally rewarding,” he said. “As a team lead I love being part of the leadership team, building programming and mentoring and training team members and new hires.”

In his spare time, Cramer and his partner enjoy outdoor activities such as skiing in Minnesota.

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