Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Daniel Brusser: ‘We want to make a positive, measurable contribution to the community’
Sometimes a career path takes a couple of twists and turns before landing in the perfect place.
Just ask Dr. Daniel Brusser, a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Western Sierra Medical Clinic.
A bachelor’s degree from Columbia University for a career in finance missed the mark. So, Dr. Brusser earned a master’s degree in Comparative Religion with a focus on Buddhism and early Christianity from the University of Washington.
That didn’t give him the career peace he wanted, either. However, the religious courses provided clarity and direction to his new profession – as a registered nurse with a focus on mental health.
“The spiritual component of treating the whole person really resonated with me,” says Dr. Brusser who completed his doctorate in nursing practice from the Seattle University College of Nursing. “Some of the knowledge I had put together (in the religion program), active listening and compassion, translated very well.”
It has helped Dr. Brusser in his career – and with his patients. The treat-the-whole-person approach to health care, from behavioral health to primary care services, is the foundation for Western Sierra.
“I come to behavioral health with a curiosity to make a positive change,” says Dr. Brusser, who moved from Seattle and joined the clinic’s newly formed Behavioral Health Team in late-summer 2022. “It’s a great opportunity to build something special.”
And desperately needed. Behavioral health was already a challenge before COVID. But the pandemic has caused more stress and issues with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
The Behavioral Health Team started just as COVID cases eased and more people returned to a post-pandemic normal.
“I’m excited to build an effective structure of health services that will bring quality care to patients,” he says. “We want to make a positive, measurable contribution to the community. We want to build a model for mental health services that works – and works well.”
The Behavioral Health Team and Dr. Brusser will work closely with primary care providers, ensuring patients receive the help they need.
“I want to lift the burdens that patients are facing,” Dr. Brusser says. “I’m here to make their life better.”
The career opportunity and the community are a good fit for Dr. Brusser.
“It has been incredible,” he says. “I have good people and good resources around me.”
Dr. Brusser and his wife, their 5-year-old son and two dogs are embracing living in Nevada County. He enjoys hiking and skiing, meditation and just being outdoors.
“I feel like I’ve made a good choice, and fortunate to be here in this position,” he says. “It’s been storybook, so far.”