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Meet the Team: Tamara Walker

  • Category: Community, Announcement
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Deb Sutton, Sweetwater Memorial Marketing Director
Meet the Team: Tamara Walker

Tamara Walker has worked at the Pediatric Clinic of Sweetwater Memorial since 2019 as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner-Primary Care. However, she’s also credentialed as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and a Pediatric Mental Health Specialist.

Walker not only provides specialized care to patients from birth to young adulthood, she specializes in a wide range of common pediatric mental health conditions, including ADHD, anxiety, and depression. She also is trained to address less common psychiatric diagnoses, ensuring comprehensive mental health evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.

What inspired you to seek this certification?

I was inspired to seek more knowledge in this field from my own life experiences, life experiences of people that I love, and my desire to help my patients become their very best selves.

Explain your work as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner:

I strive to focus my work with an approach called unconditional positive regard. In short, this means that regardless of the things someone says or does, I believe that it is my purpose to show acceptance and love first and unconditionally, then the work can move forward.

Recognizing the unique challenges and inconsistencies of the pediatric population, I work to help my patients set both realistic and ambitious goals, fostering consistent positive changes without expecting perfection. My work is complemented by a special interest and knowledge base of psychiatric medications and ongoing commitment to learning about their nuances.

In addition to medication management, I use cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and goal-setting techniques to support my patients' mental health and their overall success. I oversee two CBT skills-building intervention programs that are delivered by our Child Life Specialist within the clinic. This integrated model of mental health within a primary care setting offers numerous benefits, including improved access to care, reduced stigma, and the convenience of receiving comprehensive healthcare in one location. My passion to holistic, integrated care helps normalize mental health as an essential component of overall health.

What do you like most about your work in this area?

The work is rewarding. Building trust and relationships with my patients and their families is meaningful to me. The best part though is taking someone from a hard moment in their life where interventions are needed, and applying those things that are based in the best evidence while working with the patient to be motivated to improve ­– taking these situations from somewhat dysfunctional to thriving is a wonderful work. I don’t have all of the words to describe it, but I love it so much.

When you’re not at work, how do you like to spend your free time?

I love to just be around my family and follow them around with whatever they have going on. I always have some type of special interest that I am engaged with as far as continuing my education goes. I routinely engage in fellowships and learning programs that focus on various mental health interests that I have. I spend quite a bit of time with my church community networking and helping people out, as well.

Tell us something most people don’t know about you.

I’m a Leo.

I am one of the people who cannot physically or mentally handle the sound that comes from mouths when they are chewing or making mouth noises. I’m better about it as I get older, but it’s a quirk that I still laugh at because it’s weird and I have never been able to not shudder in normal eating situations with other people. I’m also OK if people know that I’m kind of weird.