Beaufort Memorial Sea Island Psychiatry adds staff

To help meet the growing need for mental health services in the Lowcountry, Beaufort Memorial Hospital has added two mental health professionals to its staff  at Sea Island Psychiatry.

Psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner James Benn and psychotherapist Patricia Rickenbaker have been working with psychiatrist Dr. Wynn Hill, medical director of Beaufort Memorial’s mental health unit.

Benn, a registered nurse with nearly 30 years’ experience, had been on the staff at Beaufort Memorial’s adult mental health unit since 1998. He completed the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program at the University of North Dakota last December.

A four-year veteran of the U.S. Army, Benn earned his Associate of Science degree in Nursing at Norfolk State University in Virginia and his Bachelor of Science at University of South Carolina Upstate.

He started his nursing career in Chesapeake, Va., and then moved to the Lowcountry in 1986 to take a job at BMH. After two years at the community hospital, he became a travel nurse. He later returned to Beaufort Memorial as a staff RN in the mental health unit. He also worked part-time at Hilton Head Hospital from 1993 to 2010.

Benn is an instructor in Basic Life Support and is certified in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

Rickenbaker is a clinical social worker with 26 years’ experience. She was at Wake Health Services in North Carolina for four years and established behavioral health care programs in two of the community health center’s primary care offices.

Prior to moving to North Carolina, she was in private practice for five years in Orangeburg and went on to create a behavioral health program at Harrison Peeples Health Care Center in Hampton, S.C.

A former school teacher and museum director, Rickenbaker earned her master’s degree in Social Work with a specialization in mental health at the University of North Carolina. She did a year’s internship at Duke University Hospital. She worked in several mental health facilities in the Carolinas from 1988 to 2003.

Over the years, she has received additional training in trauma recovery, redecision therapy and dissociative disorder.

To schedule an appointment with any of the mental health professionals at Sea Island Psychiatry, call 843-522-5600.

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