An Eye-Opening Conversation with Lena Rocco, PMHNP

by Annette Pinder

Lena Rocco is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Harmonia Collaborative Care (Harmonia), a local non-profit organization that provides behavioral health and senior care services to individuals in need of support. Lena enjoys working with individuals ages 13 and older managing their medications. Most of all, she enjoys working at Harmonia.

“It’s a breath of fresh air when your direct supervisors are living up to the ideals and mission of the organization. Both Megan Brautlacht, our Director of Mental Health Clinics, and Valerie Nowak, our Chief Executive Officer, are always accessible, their doors open, as they listen to and support our needs so that we are best equipped to serve our patients,” says Lena.

Lena describes her fellow female co-workers as strong, educated, nice, and willing to show the soft side of who they are. “They care about communication and our suggestions. If we have a problem, they listen, and find a way to fix it,” says Lena. This includes changes to scheduling, work hours, and more. “We are treated as the adult professionals we are, and have a say in how to best support our patients.” Lena also finds the non-competitive environment at Harmonia refreshing. “We freely congratulate and applaud one another’s accomplishments, and enjoy collaborating with one another.”

Another important aspect of working at Harmonia has been what Lena refers to as her improved life-balance and life-quality. She spends two days in the office and two days working remotely, which allows her to easily plan her schedule weeks or months in advance. It also allows her to arrange for daycare for her puppy, and better accommodate her 15-year-old son’s busy schedule. “I feel less stressed than in previously work situations, and don’t feel burdened by a rigid schedule and rat-race,” says Lena.

“What about pay and benefits?” I asked, wondering how much of a factor that was in Lena’s decision to accept a position at Harmonia. Her response was immediate. “You couldn’t pay me $20 more an hour to go somewhere else right now! I have friends working 12-hour shifts who tell me they are overworked, burnt-out, and traumatized in environments they feel are primarily cost-driven.”

Lena is also happy that she can work with patients throughout New York State because, despite the fact that Harmonia’s offices are located in Derby and Hamburg, she can meet with them virtually. “While we always welcome people to come to our offices, we are also available to them via video or a phone call.”

“Anything else?” I asked. “Yes!” replied Lena. “In the past, when we experienced turnover, we worked together to understand what improvements could be made, and how to learn from past mistakes, and that is so important. We feel grateful to be here.”

Learn more about Harmonia Collaborative Care at Current career opportunities include a CarePanion, Home Health Case Manager, Mental Health Therapist, Behavioral Health Clinic Coordinator, Senior Services Case Manager, Accounts Receivable Clerk, and a Billing and Credentialing Clerk. Learn more at