Alverna Eriksson - Acute Care Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner

From the moment you meet Alverna Eriksson, you know immediately that psychiatric nursing is not just a profession, but a calling. This extraordinary Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP) who expresses a deep affection for her job and those she serves, has worked with the David Lawrence Center intermittently for the past 20 years and continues to work part-time in Acute Care Services, a post she has held since 2001.

Alverna began her nursing career as a Registered Nurse (RN) with the Lee County Mental Health Crisis Stabilization Unit, before joining the David Lawrence Center in 1991. Since then, she left to serve with the Peace Corps in Haiti, and other service groups in Nepal, Manila, the Philippines, and Cuba. During that time, she also earned a master’s degree which made it possible for to obtain her ARNP license.

Alverna shares, “I knew I wanted to be a nurse since high school, and a psychiatric nurse since the first time I visited and worked at a mental hospital.” Since first entering the nursing profession years ago, she has seen many changes in the field. Adding that most mental patients she works with now have been de-institutionalized from long-term facilities; treatment depends more and more on the use of pharmaceutical drugs; and more of the clients have problems with drug and alcohol abuse in addition to mental illness.

Today, Alverna, now a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, hopes to stay busy as long as she is able. When not at David Lawrence Center, she shares her extensive knowledge, expertise and passion for the nursing profession teaching two classes on psychiatric nursing at Florida Gulf Coast University and helping supervise nursing student interns during a seven week rotation at DLC giving them invaluable, hands-on experience. In her spare time, she is also nearing the completion of her doctorate degree putting the final touches on her thesis on the subject of employee retention in a mental health center.

Alverna adds, “David Lawrence Center is like a home to me. Many of the clients I’ve helped over the years are like old friends. I am very grateful DLC has allowed me to work doing what I love well beyond a “normal” retirement age.” Her deep appreciation her David Lawrence Center, recently inspired her to put the Center in her will so that, even in her passing, she can continue to help those in need of mental health care.