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Jessica Walker, MSN, APRN-BC

PL!!I work with the Homeless Health Services program through the Transitions Management Office and have a faculty appointment as an Assistant in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. In my advanced practice role, I perform psychiatric consultations in homeless persons in Vanderbilt University Hospital and Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital. Dr. Sheryl Fleisch, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, developed what we believe is the only homeless subspeciality psychiatric consultation service in the nation. Our goal is to provide comprehensive psychiatric care and improved disposition planning to thie vulnerable population.

Persons who experience homelessness and mental illness have often struggled to engage with the health care system. The greatest challenge in this population is frequently to gain trust. In my advanced practice role, I am given the opportunity to provide thoughtful psychiatric care to individuals who may otherwise not receive it. I am able to engage with community homeless outreach teams, halfway houses, group homes, and friends/families to assist in finding appropriate disposition. This has proven to be incredibly rewarding for both me and the individuals who we are treating. There is also an opportunity for some homeless patients to receive outpatient psychiatric care through the Vanderbilt street psychiatry clinic. Homeless Health Services also has a homeless disability coordinator and housing navigator to assist individuals in obtaining income and housing.

Liz and Pt

I started working at Vanderbilt University Hospital as a nurse extern in 2010 after completing the Vanderbilt Experience: Student Nurse Internship Program. Next, I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and transitioned into a Registered Nurse position at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital for five years through the Nurse Residency Pilot Program in Psychiatry. I have once again transitioned into an Advanced Practice Regsitered Nurse position after completing my psychiatric-mental health Nurse Practitioner training at Vanderbilt University. While working inpatient psychiatry at Vanderbilt, I was fortunate to be able to conduct an evidence based practice project on a sensory room (guided by the Evidence Based Nursing Practice Fellowship) and share my work at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association and American Nurses Credentialing Center National Magnet conferences, along with obtaining a board certification in psychiatric nursing (RN-BC) and a registered nurse level 4 title through the Vanderbilt Professional Nursing Practice Program.


I am currently still a student at Vanderbilt University and am working on my Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. I am lucky to have the support of my husband and parents. I have pet fish and enjoy swimming, running, and traveling.