Meet Liz Odhner
Liz Odhner, MSN, PMHNP-BC, PMH-C
Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Elizabeth is a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner who has experience working with children, adolescents, young adults, and adults. She is especially passionate about providing care to the perinatal population and young adult populations and middle age population and people at points of transition - okay... she just likes all of them.
Elizabeth has nursing experience in the emergency department, telemetry, community mental health clinic, family practice, public and community health. She has done international nursing in El Salvador and Guatemala.
She is currently working with ages 10 and over.
And yes - she lives in a school bus and has a mobile office set up in her bus and car.
And yes..if you want to see her school bus..you can see how rad it is in the photos below and read more in her Q&A about if you should move into a bus too.
And yes..she and her family are really freaking cool and we're all kind of jealous of their nomadic life.
What is your favorite movie: Apollo 13 - love Tom Hanks (but I rarely watch movies)
Do you really live in a bus: Yep! My husband, toddler and I have lived in a converted school bus (26 feet, 6 window, old wheelchair bus) since May 2021. We have a kitchen, oven, bathroom, etc - everything we would need. It offers us a great balance for travel and adventure - but also we sleep in the same bed every night and have dinner as a family at the same table every night.
Did moving into a bus solve all your life problems? Nope nope nope - life is never like instagram. I still struggle with anxiety, still get lonely at times, still need to go to work I just happen to do all these things in a bus.
Do you think everyone should move into a bus? Nope - My husband and I entered into a time of discernment before making this decision and we continue to discern if this is the right decision for us and for our family. I hope others have the space to discern what makes them happy and have the support to make big, scary, and unconventional changes if that is what discernment is calling them too. Also it is important to recognize that as nurses (my husband is also a nurse) we hold a lot of privilege with our jobs, titles, and financial flexibility to make this lifestyle work for us right now.
What inspired you to become a nurse: I was inspired to be a nurse after working extensively with people experiencing homelessness, substance use disorder, and severe mental illness. I lived and worked for almost three years at a homeless shelter and outreach center. This was incredibly formative. I learned to live in community, live simply, and formed deep and meaningful friendships with people experiencing homelessness.
Do you have any personal experiences regarding mental health you are open to sharing? Without oversharing - events that I would not think to cause trauma did cause trauma and ignoring my problems did not work and recovering from trauma is really hard work.
What are you most passionate about in the mental health field? So many ideas come to mind. First, finding creative and non-traditional ways of addressing concerns - I am interested in continuing to learn about functional medicine, forest bathing (known in Japanese as shinrin yoku), and new research on psilocybin therapy. Second, asking the question - how to combat loneliness in society? So many people I talk with express dealing with loneliness and I do not have a great plan to solve this but something I think about frequently. Third, how can trauma be prevented? I think the field as a whole is recognizing the effects of trauma and finding new and better ways to treat trauma - but so little is done to prevent trauma.
What is your philosophy on using medication to treat mental health? Medications can be one option as part of a larger treatment plan but not the only option. I want to use a process of shared-decision making to come up with a plan that we are both comfortable with and then to continue to reassess that plan based on your needs.
Are medications lifelong? Do you want them to be life long? I want to continue to talk about your needs and wishes and how medications are beneficial or not beneficial to your life. Life is every change and at different points you are likely to have different needs. I don’t think a plan we come up with right now is going to be the same plan 30 years from now.
Does a patient who sees you HAVE to be on medication? Medication can be one option but there are lots of other treatment options and I want to explore your needs, values, and wishes and come up with a treatment plan together.
If a patient is nervous about an evaluation, especially when talking about tough things like trauma or sexual abuse, what would you want them to know? First - this is your appointment and we can talk about what is most important to you in a way that feels safe for you. Some people find it easiest to stream-of-consciously talk to me while other people like me ask lots of yes or no questions. This is something we can navigate together and you can share as you feel comfortable.
How do you feel about medical marijuana? Is it helpful to you? All things in moderation.
What are your thoughts about treating adult ADHD? This is one of my favorite things to treat. ADHD is exhausting. I think often people just adapt and don’t realize how exhausting ADHD is in everyday life. Also ADHD can often present as anxiety or depression and we should spend lots of time exploring the causes of the specific symptoms you are experiencing.
Tell us one fun fact about yourself. I have a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Computational Mathematics. I really like math.