Bernadette Ackerman

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Bernadette Ackerman, PMHNP-BC

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner

More About Me

I have over 20 years of experience in prescribing psychiatric medications to different populations for a variety of diagnosis. As a nurse practitioner, I approach every client in a very holistic manner. I believe very strongly that use of medication is a tool, one of many, to achieve optimal mental health. I strongly believe in engaging my clients into the use of medication if it serves their belief system. My goal for use of medication is always to make the client feel better!

I find the biggest fear of use of medication is that it will “turn me into a zombie!” I always want my clients to know they they should not feel as though they are on medication, but rather the best version of themselves! I work with each client in a personalized manner to find the medication that will work best for them. I believe in listening to what my client believes will work for them. I also think it’s very important to take a good history of what has worked and hasn’t worked in the past. I never ask my clients to take a medication that will make them feel worse.

I educate all my clients on whatever medication is chosen and make them aware of potential side effects. I believe that my clients and myself are partners in choosing this modality to address their issues. I specialize in PTSD, anxiety, depression, Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I work closely with their therapist to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment plan. I am constantly updating my education to reflect all of the new medications to make them available for my clients. As a nurse, first and foremost, my primary goal is to make my clients feel better, educate them about what is happening and give them a workable treatment plan to address their issues.

I was born and raised in New York, specifically Long Island. I graduated in 1981 with my BSN. I quickly found out that psychiatry was my calling after having worked in the state hospital. I love psychiatry because while physical pain is difficult, emotional pain is not so easily understood or treated. I was drawn to helping those who couldn’t communicate their symptoms by working with the seriously mentally ill population. I have worked very hard to help end the stigma of mental illness with NAMI.

I moved to Florida in 1994 with 3 children and 2 dogs. I graduated in 1999 from University of South Florida. I became a nurse practitioner after seeing that I could provide a greater scope of care to my patients. At the heart of my decision was the ability to help families. With a mental health diagnosis, everyone is affected. I believe in healing families, keeping them together and helping to resolve the issues or symptoms that may be keeping them apart!

I am especially proud of working for the VA and taking care of veterans with PTSD  and Dementia. I learned both therapeutic approaches, as well as medication management to help this population. The ability to give back to our military was very humbling and rewarding! I have worked in community mental health, treating the most difficult diagnosis of thought disorders, substance use disorders, depression and anxiety.

I am the proud mother of 3 wonderful adults and grandmother to four amazing little individuals who provide so much joy! I have a little shitzhu puppy named Teddy and love traveling, reading and going to the theater. Finally, I have always considered myself truly blessed to have a profession that I love and working with others who share the same values and goals for our clients!

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Bernadette in the Media

using medication management

Medication as a Tool 

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