Springfield, MO

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Heather Mosley | SBJ

2022 Health Care Champions Nurse: Olga Eldridge

Eustasis Psychiatric & Addiction Health

Posted online

Olga Eldridge knows how to overcome challenges.

She immigrated to the United States from Russia as a young child and put herself through nursing school as a single mother working multiple jobs. Since then, Eldridge has grown professionally in her health care roles, including patient care associate and registered nurse at Mercy Hospital Springfield; psychiatric charge nurse at CoxHealth; and now director of nursing at Eustasis Psychiatric & Addiction Health.

She is particularly passionate about mental health care and advocates the need for more available access and additional psychiatric nursing staff.

“Some may argue that mental health is not as important as other specialties, but, from my own experience, I see the impact that I make in patients’ lives daily and the need for trained mental health professionals,” she says. “Due to my assistance with facilitating and enhancing patient care, I feel as if I am truly able to educate my patients in the Ozarks on how to better themselves and overcome mental health issues.”

Eldridge provides specialist care, such as giving buprenorphine induction for opioid detoxification patients, which combines her strengths in both clinical skill and interpersonal empathetic abilities. She is the solo lead for all injections ordered in the clinic and is part of a task force that keeps Eustasis up to date on current trends in opioid use disorders.

She cites national statistics that over 50 million Americans struggle with a substance use disorder and says, locally, nearly 300,000 individuals in Greene County deal with the disorder.

“At our clinic, we have over 25,000 patients that have come through our doors. This means that in some way, we have helped a good majority of those patients take the first steps in tackling their mental health journey,” Eldridge says.

Eldridge is also purposeful to ensure that policies and procedures are in line with the best care outcomes for different pharmaceutical treatments, including policy concerning a medication for treating resistant depression. She is actively involved with providing education for other nursing and health care professionals to spread awareness of best practices in psychiatric care and substance use treatment.

“I also work closely with local medical assisting and nursing schools in the Ozarks to provide further education on the need for psychiatric nurses in the area,” she says. “I use my skills outside of work by aiding in teaching opportunities when I notice they are needed. This often comes in the form of educating those that may be less knowledgeable about addiction and/or mental health issues that those in our community are forced to live with.”

Continuing her impact through education, Eldridge is currently enrolled in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program at Walden University, with the goal to become a certified addictions registered nurse.

“This will allow me to further connect with patients and individualize their treatment plans,” she says.

She adds that the work relates to her proudest professional accomplishment: “the obtainment of my registered nurse licensure and the will to continue with my education despite all the other obstacles I have endured throughout my life and educational journey.”


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