Nycole Thomas

An Interview with Nycole Thomas, BSN, RN, EVP of Patient Services at Northpoint Recovery

Nycole Thomas, BSN, RN, Director of Patient Services at Northpoint Recovery, played a vital role in the planning and implementation of the Northpoint Recovery residential treatment center in 2015. She was also heavily involved in growing and developing medical teams in Boise and at Northpoint Washington in Edmonds, Wash.

A member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Thomas has found that Northpoint Recovery was the ideal spot for her to pursue her professional passions: providing quality care and serving underserved populations. As we usher in National Nurses Week 2024, we sat down with Thomas to learn more about the opportunities and challenges of establishing teamwork among medical professionals, the importance of community, and how to have more fun at work.

In the Executive Leadership descriptions, it mentions you are a registered nurse with a wide range of experience before Northpoint, including experience in hospice care and corrections. Can you talk at all about how your experiences in hospice and corrections inform the work you do at Northpoint?

Nycole Thomas

My time spent working as a nurse outside of the typical hospital environment, has really driven my passion for service to underserved populations. Working with individuals who lack support, resources, access, and advocacy has provided an opportunity to make a far greater impact for me and fills my cup in a way the traditional nursing route did. Working in behavioral health, and especially substance abuse, I have learned so much about human potential and about the beauty of health and recovery. We truly are saving lives and restoring relationships.

The same description also mentions how you played a big role in developing the medical teams for our inpatient locations. What specifically were you looking to grow among those medical teams? Have your priorities, or the priorities of the company, changed since those days?

Our teams at Northpoint are special. We have a certain type of passion for the work we do that I haven’t seen in other companies. Northpoint offers truly meaningful work. Nurses working in other fields often complain of spending less and less time in patient care and more time documenting behind a computer screen. Working at a Northpoint inpatient facility, however, nurses spend 28 days with individuals, often admitting in a very dark place. But through comprehensive medical care and residential therapy, these individuals transform themselves physically, mentally and emotionally. I haven’t seen nursing care with a bigger payoff, and providing quality care for everyone has always been a top priority for Northpoint.

Do you see any differences between the needs of the clientele in different markets?

Although mental health crisis and substance abuse issues are prevalent in every state in the country, different regions may have unique needs and care models. Because we are highly enmeshed in the communities in which we provide services, we are not only aware of these nuances, we adjust our care and model to serve the needs of the community.

We are strong believers in “meeting the client where they are” and this requires an ability to be nimble and flexible while working within our proven model.

In the Northpoint Testimonial video, you talk about the importance of fun among the facility staff, since things can sometimes “get heavy” when it comes to clients and their health histories. What are some of the ways in which staff members have fun or otherwise lighten things up?

It’s true, this job can be hard. Mental health and addiction struggles are hard, and they affect individuals, families, friends, and employers in many ways. While we celebrate the many successes our patients have, the journey along the way is bumpy and heavy.  Along with the passion our staff carries for the work we do, they have a great time doing it too. With hard work comes strong bonds. The Northpoint team becomes a family of sorts. We love to stay lighthearted, laugh, play harmless pranks, celebrate one another, and recognize the hard work that is going on. Culture is everything at Northpoint and is truly at the center of our core values.

Of course, the staff at all Northpoint facilities strives to embody the core values of inspired, humble, conviction, and heart. Inspired, conviction and heart I can understand, but what does the value of humble mean to you? How does staying humble help us better serve the client, and what should we be humble about?

We’ve defined the core value of “Humble” to mean that we carry ourselves with quiet confidence. We know the great work we do, and we are proud of that, but it doesn’t make us superior or treat anyone as such. We walk alongside our patients on their recovery path. We also believe Humble to mean that we are strong enough to seek support. We do not believe asking for help is a weakness. We believe we are better together, and this value is an important part of recovery we except to pass along to our patients as well. One of my favorite parts of our Humble core value is the tagline “No Brilliant Jerks.” It’s self-explanatory and it’s true—no brilliant jerks allowed at Northpoint!

What strategies do you and your staff utilize to motivate clients to stick with their recovery goals?

Recovery is hard and it takes a village. We have built an infrastructure of support with proven success throughout every stage, from admission to discharge and beyond. By offering a full continuum of services, a patient is able to stay with Northpoint services from initial detox to residential treatment to outpatient services and long-term alumni support.

Specifically, our Alumni program is loaded with support from hundreds of people who are also working through their recovery goals, this program focuses on the importance of finding life, meaning, and fun with recovery. All of our teams are trained in motivational interviewing to support patients through those hard days, and our clinicians are highly skilled at helping patients navigate through their struggles. Northpoint emphasizes hope and the power of human potential—we believe difficult roads lead to amazing destinations.

How challenging would you say it is to remain compliant with state and federal regulations?

Good compliance is hard work, but it’s always worth it. Compliance requires extra efforts in documentation, monitoring, and making the small details important. At Northpoint, we understand the importance of these seemingly small tasks that are the building blocks of good patient care, and we remain “survey-ready” at all times. We are very fortunate to have an amazing compliance team who create thoughtful policies to make sure we are always providing quality work. We are committed to these regulations and consistently pass Joint Commission surveys with flying colors. I am proud to work for a company that values compliance and is always striving for perfection when it comes to patient care and safety.

What strategies do you and your staff employ to build relationships with community organizations and resources?

Northpoint understands the importance of community—it’s a model we use when introducing recovery to our patients, and we practice this in our company efforts as well.  We have developed an entire team of community liaisons who work day in and out to build strong community partnerships in the areas we serve. Community events allow us to get involved in volunteer work, network with other providers, and attend community advocacy events. It takes a village to combat the effects that substance abuse and mental health challenges can have, and we truly believe we are most effective when we work together to help those in need.

Find Life, Meaning, and Fun with Northpoint Recovery Today

Want to know more about how our compassionate, individualized addiction and mental health treatment? Want to know how we can help you or a loved one? Our medical professionals, including Nycole Thomas, BSN, RN know well the benefits of professional help. Help us help you in your recovery journey today. Call Northpoint Recovery today at 208.741.6168 or contact us online.