Candidate Statements

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Richard Rutz
I have been a member of APNA since 2008 and state board member serving as the treasurer for the last two years.  This along with my 20 years as a psychiatric nurse, 10 years working as a Nurse Practitioner, will give me a well rounded approach to this position.


Luann Grochowski
Assistant nurse manager at the University of North Carolina, Neurosciences Hospital, Child/Adolescent inpatient psychiatry. Passionate about mental health care, creating innovative and effective nursing interventions to improve outcomes.

Member at Large

Clare Conner
I have been a nurse for 30 years and have held a number of positions; for the last 6 years I have been a psychiatric nurse at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.  I currently hold a Master of Science in Nursing, Community Health Nursing specialty and am in my final year of a DNP program, psych-mental health nurse practitioner track.  I have been committed to the needs of underserved populations for many years; in terms of mental health, underserved is an understatement.   I would like to contribute to improving the care of persons with mental illness and substance use disorders and remove barriers to their achieving optimal physical and mental health.  Working in an organization such as APNA provides education, opportunities, and resources to implement action plans.

Jennifer Hanley
Having worked in many facets of nursing over the years I am familiar with the issues that influence and often restrict our practice in North Carolina. As a business owner I am acutely aware of both local and federal changes affecting our profession and wish to work collaboratively in the best interest of nursing.  I believe I am able to relate to the issues on the national and personal levels due to previous experience as a CNA, hospital and home health RN, FNP, and PMH DNP. If you feel I would benefit the course of leadership, I will gratefully serve.

David Harold
Behavior health is my calling and I love the work. I am blessed and I bless my patients. I am currently employed at Novant Heath Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. I work full time in the emergency department behavior health zone and part time on the inpatient behavior health unit. I have a wife and three grown children. I have the free time to commit to this job and I would appreciate your vote.

Julia Hess
Julia is a Registered Nurse specializing in psychiatric nursing and mental health counseling with over 20 years combined therapy, education and nursing experience with a wide variety of clients including preschoolers, abused/neglected/runaway and throw away children, children & adults with developmental disabilities, geriatrics, caregivers, adults with mental illness and/or substance abuse and US veterans and their families.  In 2009, Julia created Hess Mental Health, Inc. to teach Anger Management using Emotional Intelligence and provide mental health information.  She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Arts Management with a concentration in Theatre from East Carolina University (1983) and combined her interest in the arts with a Master of Human Development & Learning in Counseling from UNC-Charlotte (1987) to do drama, play and expressive arts therapy.  At the age of 40, Julia returned to school to study nursing and received an Associate Degree in Nursing from RCCC (2003).  Julia is certified as an Anger Management Facilitator, a  Mental Health First Responder in Disaster,  Nonviolent Crisis Intervention and as a trainer for Prevention and Management of Disruptive Behavior (Veterans Affairs).  Her professional memberships include the following:  American Psychiatric Nurses Association, American Psychological Association, American Nurses Association, NC Nurses Association,  National Nurses in Business Association, American Counseling Association,  Cambridge Who's Who and the National Association of Professional Women.  Julia currently serves on the Medical Ethics Committee for Rowan Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, N. C.

Lauren Langley
I have been practicing as a psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner for over 12 years and I love this career. I have had a variety of clinical experiences in these years and have learned a great deal from each one. I have worked in inpatient and outpatient settings, have worked with the active duty military and civilian populations, have practiced psychotherapy as well as medication management, and am operating my own private practice. I am currently certified as an Adult PMHNP and will be sitting for the Family PMHNP Certification in the next few weeks. I will be starting my last semester in the Vanderbilt University DNP Program this summer and am very interested in promoting and advocating for the future of nursing and the future of our specialty. I support autonomy and full scope of practice for psychiatric nurses, consistent with the IOM’s recommendations. I would be honored to represent the psychiatric nurses of North Carolina and to work with the North Carolina APNA Board on issues that are important to you and me.

Tracey Lee
I have been an Advanced Practice Nurse for over a decade, though as an FNP. I have delivered care in different states in this role as well and have seen how different states treat NPs. NC is not the most progressive in my experience in all areas of advanced practice nursing.  Now that I am finishing my post Master's Certification as a PMHNP, I will practice in this new role in NC. I would like to become more involved in policy and leadership, as I feel that as APNs we have a long way to go in our state. I would also like to facilitate discussions among my peers in this new role about the best ways we can move ahead in this field from a policy standpoint, as well as foster our development within this role. As opposed to being solely a medication-management clinician, I would also like to explore a broader and fuller scope of practice and would like some part in this movement in our state of practice, as well as in our educational programs and universities.

Gina Lemons
Thank you for the opportunity to be considered for the Member-at-Large position.  I have worked in the field of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities for 27 years.  I have been in the role of an RN for 21 years.  I have, since 1999, been the Executive Director of DDR.  We provide community based services to individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities as well as serving many people who are dually diagnosed.  I have board certification in Psychiatric Nursing.  I am also a Duke trained Integrative Health Coach.  It is important to me to keep membership informed about the changes in our health care system with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Accountable Care Organizations and Managed Care Organizations. It is more important than ever to have the knowledge to advocate for the nursing profession as well as the knowledge of how to empower our patients/individuals to empower themselves.  I look forward to serving North Carolina APNA membership.

Debbie Livingston-Green
I have been a member of APNA for 5 years, and am board certified as a PMHNP.  I have my own private practice, and we have about 2000 patients.  I do both therapy and medication management.  I am very interested in promoting mental health among members of our community, and in erasing its stigma.  I believe that it is time for all NPs who want to have a private practice in the state of NC to be able to do so, and to be able to practice independently.  I wish to lobby for this cause.

Evelyn Stone
I am a Registered Nurse BSN with a Masters in Education.  I have worked in various areas of psychiatric nursing - Forensic, Adults, Children, Adolescent, Geriatric, Admission, Recovery (Drugs and Alcohol), Corrections Mental Health Hospital and Deaf unit for the mentally ill. I have worked in the capacity of Professional Nurse and Nurse Supervisor. I am an advocate for the mentally ill. I am interested in being a Member-at-Large.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.