Welcome Back Everyone!
Ashley here. I hope you are all enjoying getting to know us here at Ampersand Integrative Wellness. I wanted to reach back out in hopes to introduce more of my professional life to you all.
As previously mentioned, for as far back as I could remember I always ran to those in need. Therefore, I knew I would always end up somewhere in the helping field. When I was in high school I took an introduction to psychology course and was immediately enthralled with the subject. Shortly after, I was applying to colleges as a Psychology major. All throughout college I took a blend of Psychology and Sociology, finding interest in the abnormal, the different, the unusual. This reminded me of being a child and wanting to help the most vulnerable. And so it came time to decided what I was going to do with my life after college. I knew my education was not over, but I didn’t know where to go next. There was the assumption of going for my PhD in psychology, but I had to be honest with myself, I did not want to spend the next few years doing research. I wanted to be able to focus on direct client care. This is when my advisor stepped in and recommended a Masters in Social Work. I have to admit I had never really understood those words, “Social Work,” but I looked into it and felt at home. After months of deliberating which school I would attend, I finally landed on Fordham University- Lincoln Center campus.
There I spent 2 years taking full time social work classes while also interning 3 days a week. My first year I interned at a NYC Senior Center where I would do home visits for homebound seniors and my second year I was part of the Dean’s Consortium (which focuses on evidenced based practice) working on a local Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team doing home visits to the most vulnerable mental health patients. Through out this time I learned a lot of valuable professional, but also personal, life lessons on how to work with and interact with an extremely diverse population. As I mentioned previously, we all have some sort of dysfunction, trauma, and struggle and there is an art form to being able to navigate that with clients while also creating a trusting bond.
Upon my graduation, I started working at Lenox Hill Hospital as a med/surg social worker. My job was to help transition people in the hospital and prepare them for an appropriate discharge plan. I worked with people 18-104 years old. I counseled family members who had someone being placed on hospice. I helped people understand the need for skilled nursing care. And I provided comfort for those undergoing surgery. I got to learn so much of the medical world, which growing up as a physicians daughter always intrigued me. But deep down I knew I did not want to remain a medical social worker my entire life. I needed to get back the the psychiatric population. That’s when a large independent psychiatric hospital presented itself. I was so excited to work for a hospital that was so well known in the mental health world, and finally learn more about working on an inpatient unit.
I loved the time I spent on a dual diagnosis unit, working with individuals who experienced both mental health and substance abuse issues. Every day was new, challenging, and rewarding. It was amazing to experience multiple different diagnoses and learn how to safely get patients to re-enter into society. Yet, due to management changes I began to feel prohibited from providing the best possible care for my patients. And so I decided to go back to school, this time in Philadelphia (to be closer to home and my grandparents) for a Masters in Health Care Administration. There I learned what it takes to run a profitable business and with my previous education I could bring in a human, client centered touch.
Skip forward almost 2 years and here we are, my dream of helping to create a new type of health care. One that puts the client first and focuses on all their needs, not just bits and pieces. Once again, we at Ampersand cannot wait to serve all of you. We look forward to offering more to our existing clients as well as expanding the wellness world to those of you who may just be starting with us.
I hope to see you all soon!