Gifford welcomes Fossman to Behavioral Health

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Tue, 07/09/2019 - 4:15pm -- Denise Sortor

Nurse Practitioner Penny Fossman has joined the Behavioral Health team at Gifford, providing therapy and medication management services at Gifford Medical Center.

Fossman brings to her role several years of experience in health care, most recently as a registered nurse and volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) in her native Alaska. She also recently completed a number of clinical practicums in mental health during which she worked with clients in both inpatient and outpatient settings in Alaska and Washington state.

A champion of small-town living, she is passionate about ensuring access to high-quality care in rural areas.

“I chose Gifford mostly for the community,” said Fossman, who has made a home in Randolph with her husband and two daughters. “We wanted to be somewhere that has a strong sense of community. I feel this hospital has that feel, and so does the town. That was important to me. I grew up in a small town.”

That small town is Haines, dubbed “The Adventure Capital of Alaska.” There Fossman spent her childhood working alongside her father on his commercial fishing boat, staying out with him for four- and five-day trips. Later she’d choose a career in nursing, drawn to training that would allow her to “work with all sorts of populations and in different settings.”

Fossman enjoys working with patients of all ages, including children, and describes her style as collaborative.

“I like to figure out what people want, what kind of help they are looking for, and work with them to help them meet their goals and their needs,” she said.

Her experiences have taught her “how important it is to have stability in your life, how important it is to help people secure basic things we need in life to be successful—housing, food, healthy relationships, and a safe place to be.”

Fossman served for five years as a rural registered nurse with Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in Haines, Alaska. She completed her clinical practicums at Juneau Alliance for Mental Health Inc. in Juneau, Alaska; Willapa Behavioral Health in Long Beach, Wash.; Free by the Sea in Ocean Park, Wash.; Balance Beams Behavioral Health in Ocean Park, Wash.; Providence Mat-Su Behavioral Health in Palmer, Alaska; Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska; and Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium in Juneau, Alaska. She worked for seven years as an EMT and lead medic with the Haines Volunteer Fire Department. Her certifications include Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with the American Nurses Credentialing Center, Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN), and QPRT Suicide Risk Assessment and Management, among other nursing and EMT-related credentials. She earned a master’s degree in psychiatric mental health nursing from Gonzaga University, an associate of applied science in nursing from Clinton Community College, and a bachelor’s degree in health information administration from Dakota State University.

When not at work, Fossman enjoys spending time with family, including at her daughters’ sporting events, following basketball, knitting, and birdwatching.

Gifford is a community hospital in Randolph, Vt., with family health centers in Berlin, Bethel, Chelsea, Randolph, Rochester, and White River Junction; and specialty services throughout central Vermont. A Federally Qualified Health Center and a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the country, Gifford is a full-service hospital with a 24-hour emergency department and inpatient unit; many surgical services; a day care; two adult day programs; and the 30-bed Menig Nursing Home, which was named by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best 39 nursing homes in the country in 2012. The Birthing Center, established in 1977, was the first in Vermont to offer an alternative to traditional hospital-based deliveries, and continues to be a leader in midwifery and family-centered care. The hospital’s mission is to improve individuals’ and community health by providing and assuring access to affordable, high-quality health care in Gifford’s service area.