Chris E. Nelson, MSSW, has been with UofL Health for five years, currently serving as the supervisor of the Assessment and Referral Center at UofL Health – Peace Hospital.
Chris started his journey as a PRN assessment clinician in the Assessment and Referral Center. Although his position was part-time, he worked full-time hours in the center.
“As a touring musician, I needed the freedom to have a varied work schedule and the PRN position allowed me to increase my hours when I was not touring,” Chris explained. “In May 2021, I transitioned to my current full-time position. I have loved both roles for different reasons!”
Chris is one of five leaders in the center. He directly manages the PRN assessment clinician team, which includes both mobile clinicians and telecommuters that work remotely. He is on call 24/7 on rotation with the other Assessment and Referral Center leaders. He is tasked with assisting the assessment clinicians in handling patients’ cases when there are questions, difficult decisions to make or complex symptoms and systems to decipher and navigate.
“Our patients often have an array of medical, psychological, legal, emotional, behavioral and interpersonal factors that we must consider when we are completing their assessments to provide a clear picture to our M.D.s and APRNs,” Chris said. “Our role is to obtain as much possible information about the patient to determine the next level of care and, as supervisor I, train the assessments clinicians to do just that.”
Mobile clinicians assess patients that are not in the Assessment and Referral Center, such as patients at other UofL Health facilities or with other community agencies.
Chris enjoys working for UofL Health for multiple reasons. On one hand, he enjoys the team he works with, not just a Peace Hospital, but across the organization, who makes his work inspiring and fun, even though his role can be stressful and challenging at times. However, he also loves having the opportunity to learn from challenging cases and situations to further his clinical and leadership skills.
“I am proud to work for a non-profit, teaching-hospital system that encourages and supports ongoing learning and professional development,” Chris said.
Chris has one goal for UofL Health: To continue to grow as a system, both with our reach to diverse communities and with continuing to develop comprehensive and collaborative systems within the organization.
“I love our mission and I’ve already seen remarkable growth and development since we became UofL Health,” Chris explained. “I know that we will continue to be innovative, supportive of our staff and their development and provide the best patient care possible.”
One example he noted was PeaceNow, a collaboration between Peace Hospital and UofL Health – UofL Physicians to provide expedient access for patients to UofL Health system behavioral services. The clinic is structured to provide behavioral health services via telehealth.
Chris lives out the UofL Health mission by treating his patients and fellow team members with equal respect and compassion.
“Social justice is of the utmost importance to me, especially when we are considering basic human rights like health care,” Chris said. “Every day, I learn from my colleagues and patients, and I implement these lessons into my clinical practice and leadership. Collaboration, empathy and support are all frequently reinforced with my team, and I never cease to be impressed and inspired by their talents, compassion, teamwork and excellence.”
Chris is originally from Novi, Mich. He attended Michigan State University where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice. He also graduated from the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work at University of Louisville with his master’s degree in social work.
One thing to know about Chris is he is passionate about music. He plays in two bands: one that plays country music and one that plays rock n roll. His country band, Tyler Lance Walker Gill & the Wolfm’n, has a new record they are releasing soon. Chris also owns and curates a live music festival called Seven Sense Festival. This year is the first year the festival will be celebrated since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
When he’s not wrapped up in the sounds of music, you can find Chris spending time with his husband, Drew, his family, friends and dog, named Shiloh.
Know any good international markets? Make sure to tell Chris! He and his husband are constantly exploring cuisines and culinary conquests.
“We love all foods, but especially ethnic foods that emphasize species and rich flavors like Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese and Ethiopian,” Chris explained.
One quote that Chris carries with him throughout the day is, “Invite criticism; it’s the shortest path to improvement.”
If you see Chris at Peace Hospital, be sure to say “Hello,” and ask where his bands are playing next, or about his latest reads. He would love to chat with you!