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2022 APNA President’s Report

Dear Colleagues,

Leslie Oleck

Leslie Oleck, APNA President

It is my pleasure to present your 2022 American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Annual Activity Report. I am happy to report that your association continues to enjoy healthy membership growth and retention. Please see APNA Secretary Evelyn Perkins’ report for details on current membership and more. APNA has also enjoyed a strong financial year – APNA Treasurer Kristen Kichefski’s report provides you with more information.

APNA activities are guided by a Strategic Direction, which is developed by the APNA Board of Directors (BOD). In order to keep this process nimble, the Board reviews progress toward our goals at each face-to-face board meeting, more closely evaluates the strategic direction yearly, and assesses and updates it every 3 years. Below, I provide some key highlights that exemplify what our amazing psychiatric-mental health nursing community has accomplished this year toward achieving the 4 goals in our Strategic Direction. A more detailed report is available in the appendix.

Your generosity in sharing your expertise and volunteering your time enriches us all. Thank you for all you do!

Goal A. APNA will be the indispensable resource for member networking, leadership, and professional development.

  • More than 3,000 members are cultivating leadership skills and networking with fellow experts in the field through their participation on APNA councils, committees, and task forces. Seven task forces this year have worked on fulfilling charges from the APNA Board of Directors on topics ranging from staffing to telemental health. Their efforts will ultimately provide members with professional development resources and education to support our work. To those participating in APNA activities, thank you for volunteering your time and expertise!
  • A key avenue for providing networking and professional development is APNA conferences. This year, APNA introduced in-person and virtual options for the APNA Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute and APNA Annual Conference. These options expand opportunities for psychiatric-mental health nurses to connect with colleagues and get critical updates to inform what they do.
  • This year, APNA launched the APNA Memorial Scholarship, funded by the APNA Memorial Fund. This new program, made possible through donations made to memorialize the legacies of PMH nurses, covers scholarships for APNA Members to attend the premiere event for psychiatric-mental health nursing — the APNA Annual Conference.

Goal B. APNA will be the leader in creating and enhancing strategic alliances with diverse stakeholders to advance its mission.

  • APNA actively partners with stakeholders, including the Nursing Community Coalition, American Nurses Association, and Mental Health Liaison Group, to provide education and information to decision-makers. Since last November, APNA has partnered with relevant associations to discuss FDA-approved modifications to the Clozapine REMs program and concerns regarding their impact on continuity of care. After this group engaged in dialogue with the Clozapine REMS Manufacturers Group (CPMG) and the FDA, the FDA announced the temporary suspension of many of these modifications, relieving significant burdens for providers and risks for patients. APNA continues to participate in dialogue with the FDA and CPMG through stakeholder feedback sessions.
  • To meet ongoing needs due to the opioid epidemic, APNA works with the Providers Clinical Support System and Opioid Response Network to provide grant-funded education, training, and resources. APNA offers free Medications for Addictions Treatment (MAT) training, 11 mini substance use webinars, resources for nurses, and this year developed and administered a survey to determine how nurses are using medication for opioid use disorders in their practice. Data from this survey, which will be presented at the APNA Annual Conference, provides important insights into the role psychiatric-mental health nurses play in providing access to needed treatment, including barriers to address.

Goal C. APNA will be recognized as the expert voice for psychiatric-mental health nursing.

Goal D. APNA will be at the forefront of integrating research, practice, and education to address mental health issues that affect psychiatric-mental health nursing and the population served.

  • APNA shared the results of its first comprehensive workforce survey this year in the much-anticipated APNA Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Workforce Report. This report, put together by the APNA Workforce Task Force, provides a snapshot of not only the makeup of the workforce based on respondents’ answers, but also what services PMH RNs and APRNs are providing, and where. This report is the first piece of a broader initiative that will educate interprofessional colleagues and stakeholders about psychiatric-mental health nursing.
  • February to June of this year, APNA collaborated with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing on a project funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to address vaccine hesitancy in public health. APNA provided education and information on Motivational Interviewing to the faculty from the ten schools who received grant funding to develop projects (ad campaigns, toolkits, motivational interviewing education) to improve public awareness and highlight scientific resources related to vaccines including COVID-19.

My year as APNA President has left me filled with gratitude for this diverse and growing community united around psychiatric-mental health nursing and advancing whole health for individuals and communities. I want to thank you for all you do to speak up and educate about who we are, what we do, and what we need.

Leslie G. Oleck