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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jennifer Shore

Getting to Know Veronica Doran, DNP, PMHNP-BC

Welcome! Today we're sitting down with Veronica Doran, a board-certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner here at Fairfax Mental Health and Wellness. Let's delve into Veronica's journey in mental healthcare and her unique perspective on patient care.

Veronica Doran, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

A Family Passion in Mental Health Work Leads the Way

Veronica's path to mental health wasn't entirely unexpected. With a father as a retired psychiatrist and a mother with a long career in community mental health nursing, it seems mental well-being was woven into the fabric of her family. So, when Veronica decided to pursue nursing as a second degree, her interest in mental health stood out among her peers.

From Inpatient Care to a Calling in Psychiatry

What made you decide to specialize as a Psychiatric NP specifically?

Veronica's dedication to mental health blossomed in the inpatient setting. Working for a decade in this environment solidified her passion for building therapeutic relationships with patients. However, her desire to expand her knowledge base led her to teach nursing students in the field. This experience bridged the gap between practical experience and academic understanding.

After years of immersing herself in the complexities of mental health, Veronica felt drawn to a more comprehensive approach. The desire to combine the knowledge of neuroscience with clinical interventions led her to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and specialize as a Psychiatric NP.

Finding Joy in Unexpected Places: The Journey into Pediatric Mental Health

Veronica's foray into pediatric mental health stemmed from a temporary position at a primary care pediatric office while searching for a mental health role. This experience opened her eyes to the unique challenges and rewards of working with children. When a serendipitous opportunity arose at Children's National Medical Center, Veronica embraced the chance to work with young patients. The challenges and joys of supporting their mental well-being solidified her passion for pediatric care.

Has there been a particularly rewarding patient experience that solidified your career choice?

Mental health is a complex landscape, and "wins" can be hard-earned. Veronica acknowledges the challenges of diagnosis and treatment, where progress can be slow and setbacks may occur. However, her most rewarding experiences come from forging strong therapeutic relationships with patients and working collaboratively towards solutions. Even when a perfect solution remains elusive, the journey itself can be a victory, as Veronica shares with a patient's words: "You never gave up and it's not perfect, but I never felt alone."

Collaboration is Key: Veronica's Philosophy on Patient Care

Veronica emphasizes the importance of teamwork in all healthcare, especially in mental health.  She views patient care as an ongoing, collaborative process built on honesty and mutual respect. This approach fosters a sense of shared responsibility and empowers patients to take ownership of their well-being.

Success is a Personal Journey

Veronica doesn't define success based solely on clinical scores.  She believes true success hinges on the patient's perception of their progress.  The ability to manage challenges and feel a sense of control over their mental health is the ultimate indicator of success.

Putting the Patient First:  Tailoring Treatment Plans

Patient input lies at the heart of Veronica's treatment plan development.  She views herself as a guide, working alongside patients to find the most effective and direct route to improvement.

The Enigmatic Human Mind: A Source of Constant Surprise

Veronica acknowledges the vast gaps in our understanding of the brain.  The sheer complexity of the human mind keeps her constantly surprised by its resilience and remarkable ability to adapt and overcome challenges.

Simple Yet Powerful Tools for Everyday Stress

Veronica champions easy-to-use coping mechanisms for managing everyday stress.  

  • Square breathing

  • 5-sense mindfulness emphasizing regular practice for building resilience.

Finding Balance: Rekindling a Love for Running

Beyond her work, Veronica finds solace in running.  After a brief hiatus, she's back on the track, rediscovering the stress-relieving benefits of this lifelong passion.  Participating in community races adds another layer of enjoyment to her active lifestyle.

Challenges and Opportunities: The Future of Mental Healthcare

While Veronica acknowledges the positive shift in societal attitudes towards mental health, she emphasizes the importance of a multi-faceted approach.  Mental well-being is a journey, not a destination, and requires ongoing commitment to healthy habits and lifestyle changes. Medication, while valuable, is just one piece of the puzzle.

Veronica Doran's dedication to patient-centered care and her passion for unraveling the complexities of the human mind make her a valuable asset to the Fairfax Mental Health and Wellness team.  If you're looking for a supportive and collaborative approach to mental healthcare, consider scheduling an appointment with Veronica.


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