Jane Suresky, DNP, PMHCNS BC
2011 APNA Award for Excellence in Education

How to completely revise a psychiatric MSN program to reflect the contemporary challenges of psychiatric nursing: This was the issue Jane Suresky, DNP, PMHCNS BC tackled two years ago as she initiated and led a task force at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio. Coordinator for the psychiatric major in the MSN program for more than a decade, she worked to shift its concentration from adult/gerontology to a full lifespan approach.

“My role…required bringing all psychiatric nursing faculty in the school together to work on all aspects of this new curriculum design,” says Dr. Suresky. Together the task force designed and added seven new courses to the curriculum as well as redesigning six existing ones. The whole process, including getting approval from the rest of the faculty, was accomplished in less than a year’s time. “Many exceptional minds came together to create what we consider a valuable plan of study for students interested in working with families, especially vulnerable families facing many stressors, traumas, and psychiatric disorders in the myriad of situations impacting family life in today’s world,” she says.

In addition to all of her work on this new curriculum, Dr. Suresky’s commitment to meeting the constantly evolving needs of her students is what truly sets her apart as an educator. She tackles the challenge with enthusiasm: “Students today are very bright and bring a wide range of life experiences they want to use in seeking an advanced degree. The challenge for me is providing the theoretical base for practice and then facilitating a wide range of practice areas for their clinical experiences.”

Her efforts include the use of dynamic and interactive Second Life simulations that give psychiatric CNS/NP students the chance to practice assessment, diagnostic, and therapy skills. She’s also using interactive connective technology to allow students to telecommute. “In my own learning I have moved from technology novice to technology guru in providing this new web-based online program,” she says. She is also in the midst of working out a collaboration with a center serving families and children.  This collaboration would involve 9-month clinical placements for students, providing them with a more comprehensive learning experience while also allowing the Center to expand its clinical services.

“I love being able to share my passion for psychiatric nursing and having the opportunity to teach students about the healing they can provide in this specialty,” says Dr. Suresky. “Students are on a learning quest and it is a joy to help them channel their energies and realize their goals.”