Candidate Statements

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Emily E. Bell RN, ARNP, PMHNP-BC

Brief biographical sketch
I became interested in psychiatric nursing as an undergraduate student at the University of Florida.  I was chosen as a Janssen Scholar and attended my first APNA conference in 2005.  I was already active in many nursing student organizations before joining APNA.  I was elected to the Board of the University of Florida Nursing Student Association, the Florida Nursing Student Association and elected to be the Chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee for the National Student Nurses Association.  I also served as the Student Senator for the College of Nursing at UF and attended the Nurses in Washington Internship in 2005.

As a Registered Nurse, I gained experience working in a New York State hospital in its last few months before closing and then worked at Bellevue Hospital Center in NYC for one year.  I moved to Connecticut to start my Master’s degree in psychiatric nursing at Yale University and worked three years as a night charge nurse at Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital while attending school.  During this time, I was elected to the APNA Nominations and Elections committee and was appointed to the AdvancedPractice Council.  After graduating, I was asked to serve on an APNA Task Force on the recommendation of clinical hours required for Clinical Nurse Specialist and Nurse Practitioner blended programs.

I completed my board certification as a Family Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in 2008.  I have worked mainly in outpatient clinic settings providing psychiatric evaluation and medication management for children, adolescents and adults.  After a few years caring for the military family members at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Northern Virginia, I moved back home to Florida in 2012 to be closer to my family.  I have become involved in Nurse Practitioner organizations since returning to Florida because the laws here create a significant barrier to practice more so than in any other state.  Moreover, I am upset how these outdated laws impact our clients’ ability to receive their mental health care. 

As President-Elect, I want to continue the current Boards direction for increasing member participating through quarterly membership conference calls and newsletters through the membership bridge.  Additionally, I would like to create an outreach effort for hospital and nursing school settings to increase APNA membership in Florida. I want to work with the Florida Nursing Student Association to increase interest in psychiatric nursing as a profession in Florida’s nursing students.  Moreover, I would like to expand participation in the Florida chapter by adding committees and councils to mimic APNA’s national organization, including at least an Advanced Practice Council, RN-PMH Council, Research Council and Educational Council. 


Nancy Newbury, MSN, ARNP, CS

Brief biographical sketch
Born in Kansas, I moved to Florida and received my MSN from the University of Miami in 1980-81.   As a new psych "Clin Spec", I developed a Mood Disorders Unit in a med/surg hospital on Miami Beach.  But, I still felt like a fish out of water and became involved in the newly formed Florida APNA organization.   From there, I moved north to W. Palm Bch and thrived in the Mental Health Center setting as a Nurse Practitioner.    Currently, I serve as an NP in the Mental Health Center in Stuart and am ready to once again become more involved in Florida's APNA Chapter.

Having been involved with the Florida Chapter of APNA since it's inception, I am so pleased to see how the Chapter has matured in population and professionalism.   I would be proud to serve on the Board and hope to help solidify it's financial status, maintain accurate records and ensure funds be utilized to support worthwhile projects and membership within it's budget.

Media Coordinator

Valerie Kolbert MS, ARNP, BC

Brief biographical sketch
Went to school at Penn and Columbia. Worked in all different psych settings and have been in private practice since 2001.  Have been media coordinator more years than I can remember.

I want to bring us into the 21st century and use more social media while continuing to put out a quarterly newsletter.

Karen McNeely DNP, ARNP-BC

Brief biographical sketch
I am an ARNP with 30 years experience in nursing, treating a variety of mental illnesses and substance misuse disorders along a continuum of services. Experienced in all settings including Emergency Department, commuity mental health, inpatient, private practice, and corrections. I have worked in both staff and administrative roles, and while in South Florida successfully expanded a small single service mental health center into an organization providing a full continuum of behavioral health services. My doctoral project focused on telebehavioral health, and I presented my poster, "Targeting Health Care Disparities: Advanced Practice Nurses and Telebehavioral Health Care", at the 2013 APNA Conference in San Antonio. I recently moved to Jacksonville and am working for Baptist Behavioral Health in the IOP/PHP with a focus on bridging the gaps in treatment in order to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes. My passsion lies in utilizing technology to improve access to services.

Help grow and sustain membership. Provide resources for all psychiatric nurses in Florida.


Diane Esposito, PhD, ARNP, PMHCNS-BC

Brief biographical sketch
Dr. Esposito has worked in the field of mental health nursing for over 25 years, in a variety of positions, including child and adolescent inpatient psychiatry, psychiatric emergency room and since 1999 as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in private practice as well as in addiction and recovery settings.  She has also worked as a nurse educator, teaching Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing since 1996.

I would love to see our Florida Chapter of APNA continue to reach out to all members of the state, and would encourage participation in meetings via conference calls as well as planning for our annual state conference.  I would also like to see increased communications via internet regarding areas of public policy that impact our profession. 

Jennifer Harris, MSN, RN-BC

Brief biographical sketch

  • 20 years nursing experience, including direct patient care & nursing education.
  • Currently working @ V.A. West Palm Beach as a Mental Health Intensive Case Manager.
  • Commissioned Officer in the US Navy Reserves Nurse Corps since 2006.
  • APNA Institute of Safe Environments Advisory Panel member.
  • Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing member.

To perpetuate the core values of the APNA through planning and coordination of meaningful & relevant continuing education offerings which  promote evidence-based advances in recovery-focused care and to continue to build a strong membership base.

Cindy Parsons, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP-BC

Brief biographical sketch
I have been a PMH CNS & NP for the last 25 years. I am board certified as a Child & Adolescent Psych/MH CNS and PMHNP.  In my clinical practice I work as an APN (advanced practice nurse) treating adults, adolescents and families with psychiatric or mental health disorders. I have worked in a wide variety of mental health settings, including acute inpatient, community mental health, school health and private practice. In my role as an educator I teach graduate and undergraduate nursing students; focusing on psychiatric mental health, family-centered care, community and population health and the contemporary role of the nurse practitioner.  I have contributed to a number of psychiatric nursing texts and journals. She has lectured extensively on the care and treatment of mental illness across the lifespan.

If elected, I will contribute to building strong leadership in our APNA chapter. I will work with the Florida Chapter Board to identify the needs of our constituents, foster improved communication and create programs that serve to enhance the quality of psychiatric mental health nursing in Florida. The specialty of PMH nursing has undergone many changes in the last decade and yet it remains a vibrant and fulfilling specialty nursing practice. The Florida chapter has and will continue to work to mentor both the generalist and advanced practice nurse and if elected I will work to help support these goals.