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2023 APNA President’s Report

Dear Colleagues,

APNA President Zim Okoli

Zim Okoli, APNA President

It is my pleasure to present your 2023 American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Annual Activity Report. I am happy to report that your association continues to enjoy healthy membership growth and retention. APNA Secretary Evelyn Perkins’ report provides details on current membership and APNA Treasurer Kristen Kichefski’s report provides you with information about APNA’s financials this year.

APNA activities are guided by our Strategic Direction, which is developed by the APNA Board of Directors (BOD) and reviewed every board meeting. To ensure that the organization is responsive to evolving member needs, we formally assess and update it as needed every 3 years – and 2023 was one of those years! The diverse perspectives shared through a member survey and environmental scan with APNA thought leaders informed this review and update. We feel confident that the refinements we made will ensure we continue to serve as a unifying voice for psychiatric-mental health nursing and help us to fulfill our mission.

You, the members, are the lifeblood of APNA and this report exemplifies how each of us has the expertise, awareness, and determination required to embody our core ideology and values, further our strategic goals, and drive us towards our long-term envisioned future. Below are five highlights of how, together, we have achieved these things this year. A more detailed report is available in the appendix.

  • The APNA Board of Directors and countless volunteers worked tirelessly this year to provide the most current and relevant resources and positions for psychiatric-mental health nurses. These include the updated position paper on staffing inpatient psychiatric units, a new position paper on integrated care, a new telemental health toolkit, and an updated position and treatment considerations checklist on ketamine infusion therapy, among many more updates.
  • A wealth of core educational programs were updated this year, utilizing new technologies and tools, incorporating adult learning principles, and ensuring that the most current evidence-based information is provided. Notably, essential free education related to addressing the opioid epidemic was released this year, including the 8-hour Medications for Substance Use Disorders Training which meets the DEA requirement to prescribe buprenorphine, as well as updated Effective Treatments for Opioid Use Disorders sessions. An updated Motivational Interviewing program (free to members!) was also just released. Education such as the APNA Transitions in Practice Certificate Program and APNA Suicide Prevention Certification Program, also are under revision to incorporate new content and engaging interactive elements.
  • An increased focus on the development and nurturing of our generous chapter, council, and committee leaders continues to translate to valuable professional development for emerging PMH nurse trailblazers, as well as a supportive structure for engaging members at all levels of involvement across APNA programs and initiatives. Notably, we welcomed two new chapters to the fold (and one more is in process) and formed two new workgroups to address the topics of youth suicide prevention and care of persons in the criminal justice system.
  • Our Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association is at an exciting point: Our wonderful Editor, Geri Pearson, is preparing to retire next year, so a JAPNA Editor Search Committee is reviewing results from a member survey and preparing to evaluate candidates. The call for applications closes at the end of this month and we look forward to welcoming a new editor in the next year.
  • APNA also actively partners with stakeholders, including the Nursing Community Coalition, American Nurses Association, Providers Clinical Support System, and Mental Health Liaison Group, to provide education and information to decision-makers. Our ongoing relationship with the LACE Network, for example, ensures that we are involved in discussions regarding proposed changes and updates to the implementation of the APRN consensus model and can weigh in on issues that directly impact PMH nursing licensure, accreditation, certification, and education as they arise.

My experience as APNA President this year has been humbling and inspiring. Thank you for joining the journey with me as we explored the importance of inclusion, diversity, equity, access, and de-stigmatization to who we are and what we do as psychiatric-mental health nurses. By dispensing hope to our patients and each other, and by going where we are most needed, we each participate in the work of moving these concepts forward. Thank you for all you do!

Chizimuzo Okoli
Chizimuzo (Zim) Okoli
American Psychiatric Nurses Association