For nurse practitioner Michael Santone (3637 Canal St., 302-1313; www.michaeldsantonenp.com), psychiatric care does not include a a sleepy hour on an analyst's couch.
"I set clear expectations [of my clients] right from the beginning," Santone says. "I'll say 'I expect you to do A, B, C and D.'" In return, he offers education, medication management and counseling at his Mid-City practice, where he takes a holistic approach to patient care.
Santone, a Pennsylvania native, came to New Orleans in the mid-1990s to work at Charity Hospital. In 2007 he opened a private practice, where he helps fill New Orleans' vast post-Hurricane Katrina need for mental health services.
"Health care here in New Orleans is still tragic [since the storm], and then psychiatric care is even less available," he says. "A lot of the mental health centers are incredibly overloaded. ... Many of the psychiatrists here in town aren't accepting new clients or have a waiting list."
Santone encourages patients to take hands-on roles in their treatment by learning about their conditions and the medications they need. Santone also forms treatment plans that outline therapeutic goals; he employs a frank, straightforward manner and calls himself a "reality therapist."
"I like to be up-front and honest," he says. "Sometimes my approach may be too direct for people." He earns his clients' praise, however, for helping them understand their treatment programs.
"I usually have people say, 'You don't talk to me like a doctor talks to me. ... I don't feel like you just write a [prescription] and push me out the door,'" he says.