A Message from the President
November 2010

Carole Farley-Toombs, MS, RN, NEA-BC


I am honored to present you with my first message as APNA President. At this moment in time, we find ourselves part of an APNA that is stronger than ever, a testimony to the outstanding leadership and involvement of our members over the years. We truly do stand on the shoulders of giants…but we are just beginning. APNA was recently named as one of the Top Ten Industry Associations in Nursing by American Chronicle, a testament to the growing potential and influence of our organization. Our strength sets the foundation for the tremendous impact APNA will have on shaping mental health care and psychiatric nursing professional development in the future.

APNA’s 24th Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky was an outstanding success by every measure: record attendance, record number of excellent paper and poster presentations, and wonderful venues for networking with psychiatric nursing colleagues from across the country and the world.

In her memorable opening keynote address Mary Moller used the story of Seabiscuit as a metaphor for psychiatric nursing: psychiatric nursing as a racehorse that doesn’t fit the mold, carrying a jockey who contains a world of pain from mental illness and also the hope of recovery, racing against the extremely formidable and virulent opponent of stigma. In her metaphor APNA is our trainer for the race, teaching us to draw strength from deep within ourselves, from our wells of compassion, from our relationships with each other, and from our powerful banks of science and art, in order to race ahead of stigma to the finish line.

During the conference both novice and expert RN-PMHs, many of whom were attending for the first time, took time to express their views and offer some very valuable feedback. Several are working in settings that are under-resourced in staffing, mentoring, and professional development opportunities. They want to see APNA provide the professional development educational opportunities they cannot access anywhere else--how to run groups on an acute inpatient service or how to formulate risk in inpatient suicide assessments, for example. They believe that there is a huge pool of psychiatric nurses prepared at the basic level who are ready to flock to APNA as the organization that can sustain and support them in advocating for their patients as well as advancing their own professional development. It is exciting that we are reaching out to so many nurses.

The Consensus Model for Advanced Practice Nursing is a tremendous opportunity for nursing, bringing consistency across all states in the licensure and titling of APRNS, accreditation standards for advanced practice nursing programs and certification exams that are fully aligned with state APRN titles and scope of practice. It also poses challenges for us, the racehorse that doesn’t fit the mold. The APNA/ISPN LACE Task Force completed eight months of intensive work to develop recommendations to our respective boards regarding the implementation of the Consensus Model for psychiatric nursing. These recommendations are now on the web for member response and will come to the APNA board for a vote in February. Click here to view these recommendations.


Our theme for the coming year is Quality and Safety through Connection, Engagement and Partnership. This theme reaffirms the centrality of the nurse-patient relationship to our specialty’s professional legacy. It also affirms that through engagement and partnership with each other, with the nursing world, and with the world of mental health care and health care at large, APNA will be at the tables and inviting others to our table to shape the present and future.

Together we will continue to strengthen the voice of our organization and our profession.