Nurse Practitioner Spotlight
A career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner can be replete with challenges and opportunities. The NP Psych Navigator Spotlight is your chance to learn more about nurse practitioners who are working to advance the profession and mental health in general. In the seventh installment of this series, we profile Moushumi Mukerji, MSN, PMHNP-BC, CNM, RN.
NP Spotlight: Moushumi Mukerji, MSN, PMHNP-BC, CNM, RN
Born to Be a Healer….
Moushumi knew from an early age that she wanted to be a healer. At age 13, she realized she wanted to be a psychiatrist or psychologist, but she didn’t know how the two fields differed. She majored in genetics in college, focusing on pre-med classes. Because Moushumi’s father was a biochemist, there was some family pressure to pursue scientific research; but she was too interested in people to enjoy laboratory science.
In addition, witnessing her parents dealing with the stresses of immigration—leaving families behind, adapting to a new society—caused Moushumi to share a sentiment that is common among first-generation Americans: a feeling of being caught between two cultures. She grappled with questions such as “Who am I?” and “Where do I belong?” Consequently, Moushumi developed an interest in disciplines that explore the concept of self-formation. Psychology, as a field, seeks to address this issue.
….But Not Yet a Psychiatric Nurse
Despite her interest, Moushumi found that psychology classes at the University of California, Davis, were very academic in orientation, which did not interest her. Nor did she enjoy her psychiatry rotation in nursing school, during which she witnessed patients being heavily medicated but not really listened to empathically. And there was little focus on trauma and its long-term effects. A career as a mental health provider would have to wait.
From Nursing School to Midwifery
Instead, a fascination with pregnancy—and hence with genetics and embryology—coupled with a burgeoning feminist consciousness and a strong interest in global health, led Moushumi to pursue midwifery. She believed very deeply that childbirth could be an empowering experience for women if they were able to retain their autonomy and dignity during the process. She enrolled in an advanced practice nursing program and chose midwifery as her specialty.
From Midwifery to Mental Wellness
As a midwife, Moushumi saw a tremendous unmet need for mental health care but felt she did not have adequate training to provide it. So, after 21 years of practice in midwifery, women’s health, and maternity care, Moushumi returned to nursing school and became a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Moushumi brings empathy and compassion to her practice, instilling autonomy in her patients and pursuing justice when delivering care. She also draws upon her own growth and healing from various traumas in life to provide her patients with trauma-informed care.
Embracing Challenges, Celebrating Rewards
For Moushumi, working as a psychiatric nurse practitioner is not just a job; it is a mindset and a lifestyle. She is deeply affected by her patients’ stories and finds it difficult to “switch off” her work brain at the end of the day.
Time constraints and a heavy workload are additional challenges but are well worth it to her when she sees improvement in her patients’ ability to function, whether interpersonally, professionally, or in other ways that matter to them. Moushumi takes deep satisfaction in knowing she has contributed to an individual’s journey toward healing and happiness.
From the Clinic to Private Practice
After 4 years of working through an agency, Moushumi went into private practice. Her primary focus is general adult psychiatry, but she also treats teenagers. She sees her patients by telehealth.
Moushumi treats mood and anxiety disorders and ADHD, and she specializes in perinatal mental health. She has a keen interest in healing the complex traumas underlying so many mental health problems. To that end, she works part-time with a family practice doctor with patients who do not respond adequately to therapy or have trauma-related mental health conditions.
Seeking Unity: Harmony in Mind and Body
Moushumi has come to realize that mental health IS health—she does not separate the mind from the body. To broaden her own horizons as a clinician, she is currently training in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and hopes in the future to receive formal training in psychoanalysis and other trauma-healing modalities, such as sensorimotor psychotherapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.
Unlocking the Mind: Embracing the World
Moushumi loves that psychiatry is about EVERYTHING! Art, culture, neuroscience, history, meditation, biochemistry, social justice, anthropology, religion and spirituality, cell biology, genetics—all have a bearing on her work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner. She asks, “Can one say that about many other professions?” Having cultivated diverse intellectual interests, Moushumi finds psychiatry to be an incredibly fertile field.
Moushumi Mukerji, MSN, PMHNP-BC, CNM, RN, is a paid consultant of AbbVie Inc. and was compensated for her time spent in the development of this profile. The opinions expressed above are those of the NP contributor and are not necessarily recommended or endorsed by AbbVie Inc.
This resource is intended for educational purposes only and is intended for US healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals should use independent medical judgment. All decisions regarding patient care must be handled by a healthcare professional and be made based on the unique needs of each patient.
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