After nearly 10 years, Boys Town National Research Hospital welcomes back Nick Basalay, M.D., child and adolescent psychiatrist, to Boys Town Behavioral Health.
Basalay graduated from Creighton University with a degree in psychology in 2005. He was interested in pediatric mental health so he applied for a position as behavioral health technician at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and began his journey of changing the way America cares for kids.
As a behavioral health technician, Basalay’s role was to guide and participate in the day-to-day activities of the youth at the RTC.
“The Boys Town Residential Treatment Center is unique because the staff has the opportunity to interact closely with the youth in the program,” says Douglas Spellman, M.D., medical director of Boys Town Behavioral Health Services. “We train our staff to use the Boys Town Model, a program based in the belief that every child and family has the chance to succeed with the appropriate environment, values and decision-making and relationship skills.”
Basalay enjoyed being in an environment where he could see the Boys Town Model in action.
“I liked that you could watch the development and progress,” he says. “It wasn’t a rush. You had a chance to develop a therapeutic relationship with these kids and use that to help them learn and grow.”
Before coming to Boys Town, Basalay knew he wanted to work in behavioral or mental health, but he credits his experience as a tech for helping him decide how to continue with his education. Working closely with Spellman, his team and the youth showed Basalay what behavioral disorders in children looked like and highlighted the healing that can be achieved through therapy and a safe, consistent environment.
“I got to talk to Dr. Spellman ... and pick his brain,” Basalay says. “I got to see his role making a difference and realized that’s where I could have a big impact.”
Now, after years of medical school and residency, Basalay is returning to Boys Town as a child and adolescent psychiatrist – and it isn’t just by chance.
“As an organization, they (Boys Town) really helped me find my calling and my passion,” Basalay says. “I can’t quantify what I learned and how much I grew. Being able to return and give back to them was always the hope and the goal.”