“I have a passion for trying to make others feel better about themselves,” says Brevard, N.C.-based nail tech Jennia Wassermann. That’s why, in addition to seeing clients at Bliss Salon, Wassermann works as an office assistant at Brevard’s Meridian Behavioral Health Services. “We provide classes for those seeking recovery from addiction or those just needing to find themselves,” she says. “I work side by side with a psychiatrist, providing medical services and assistance with medication. Most of our students are homeless, unemployed, or uninsured.”

Her duties at the center are varied. “I work up the students when they come for their psychiatric appointments. That includes checking their weight and blood pressure, and reviewing their medications to make sure they haven’t started any new ones or stopped any old ones,” she says. Wassermann also gets students assistance to help pay for their medications. “I do all the paperwork and send it to the pharmaceutical companies for approval so they can get what they need at a very low cost or no cost. I also call prescriptions in to the pharmacy and give samples to students who are starting new medications.” She even conducts urine drug screens and reads those results.

“Working with individuals with different mood disorders and addictions has its challenges,” she says. “Things are always changing; there are lots of ups and downs. Even though I am on the front end of things, most of the time I get the stories and emotions before the psychiatrist.”

Wassermann initially got into this line of work when one of her nail clients, a psychiatrist, needed an assistant and liked the way Wassermann interacted with her clients. “I never saw myself working this closely with individuals who are addicts or homeless or suffering from psychiatric problems, but I enjoy helping those in need. I’ve learned so much,” she says.

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