Joanne Matthew, MS, RN, PMHCNS
2013 APNA Award for Excellence in Practice-APRN

“In a hospital often described as having a ‘physician focus’ she has worked with nurses to articulate a nursing vision and mission which promotes nurse professional practice and encourages nurses to join physicians as core members of the patient team,” says Judy Sheehan, BSN, MSN, RN, one of Joanne Matthew’s colleagues who nominated for the APNA Award for Excellence in Practice-APRN. Matthew is currently Director of Nursing Quality and Intensive treatment managing the Intensive treatment unit at Butler Hospital and an adjunct faculty member for the University of Rhode Island.

As the above quote demonstrates, Matthew is a dedicated advocate for psychiatric mental health nursing, but she is also a role model of psychiatric nursing practice. She popularized the concept of evidence-based practices on all patient care units at her hospital. She made it a mission to reduce the use of seclusion and restraint when she began in her management position – and proceeded to do so. She also brought new patient-centered practices to the unit: sensory interventions, pet therapy, drumming, and dance. Her influence extends throughout the whole hospital – she implemented the hospital-wide use of the Broset Violence Checklist, brought line staff nurses into the chart review process, and instituted nurse to nurse rounding as a part of the shift handoff. She also took the initiative and created both a Nursing Quality Council and a nursing newsletter to improve communication and information sharing.

Of Matthew, Larry Price, MD, the Clinical Director at Butler Hospital says, “Joanne’s most defining attribute is her absolute dedication to using evidence-based practices to improve not only the objective outcomes of her patients, but also their subjective experiences of care and the skills of those who care for them.” Matthew’s colleague Lorena Zisk, RN chimes in, describing Matthews as “the epitome of thinking outside the box.”

Matthew’s vision, creativity, and commitment to evidence-based practices that enable nurses to provide the best possible care to their patients makes her unit “the place to be,” according to both new and experienced nurses. She brings a whole new meaning to quality!