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Dr. Barbara J. Limandri, PhD, PMHCNS-BC

2020 APNA Award for Distinguished Service

Dr. Barbara J. Limandri, PhD, PMHCNS-BC “sets the gold standard as a leader in promoting and advancing psychiatric-mental health nursing throughout the US,” says Mary Moller, a long-time colleague of Barbara’s. “I believe strongly in giving back, and that it is an honor to serve one’s community,” says Barbara, who is this year’s recipient of the APNA Award for Distinguished Service. “Just as it is vitally important to serve those who struggle with mental illness, it is equally important to serve those who care for those with mental illness.” As an APNA member since 1984, Barbara has played a crucial role in APNA program development on a range of topics including psychopharmacology and suicide prevention.

Barbara is retired as a Professor Emerita from Linfield College School of Nursing and uses retirement as an opportunity to pursue her many passions. “I like being retired because I can still participate in nursing without any organizational complications,” she says. Whether it be working with homeless individuals with mental health and substance use issues through a church group, consulting for the Oregon State Board of Nursing, or working with APNA, Barbara continuously applies her skills to improve care and treatment of persons with mental health needs. “Dr. Limandri delivers strong commitment, conviction, and diligence when she undertakes a project,” says Cheryl Puntil, who nominated Barbara for this award. “She advocates and influences local, state, and national initiatives aimed to improve patient care and illuminate PMH nursing practice to those writing policy, developing guidelines, and making recommendations.”

“Barbara’s true strength and talents lie in the area of education and organizational leadership,” says Moller. As an APNA leader, Barbara currently serves as the APNA Oregon Chapter President, on the Program Committee for the APNA Annual Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute (CPI), and as a faculty member for the APNA Competency Based Training for Suicide Prevention. “Barbara is extremely bright and exceptionally motivated and her energy to unselfishly give to the psychiatric-mental health nursing profession is remarkable,” says Puntil. “She is energetic, genuine, engaging, and consistently successful in all that she undertakes. She demonstrates a playfulness and humor that helps lighten the tasks, and she has held steadfast in her service to APNA’s mission.”

Barbara has a passion for suicide prevention and shares her clinical knowledge through the APNA Competency Based Training for Suicide Prevention program she helped to develop. Most recently, she spearheaded the updating of the course. “Barbara sought the most current evidence and brought her expertise in suicide prevention to create an experiential learning model,” says Puntil.  “The course ended up on Washington State’s ‘model list’ of approved courses.” Since implementation, more than 3,200 nurses have undergone this training to feel better prepared to address and manage suicide risk.

As a member of the APNA CPI Program Committee, Barbara is mindful of her own experiences as a nurse and goals for the future of mental health care. “Psychiatric-mental health nursing is a terrifically diverse opportunity to get involved with people at a personal level,” she says. “We need to restore balance in our role and how we function in that role, [not] limiting it to one of prescribing for patients or simply monitoring in inpatient settings.” Barbara works both behind the scenes and on-site at conferences to ensure that the programs truly meet nurses’ needs. As Moller observes, “Every time you turn around at a conference, you can see [Barbara] involved in speaking, organizing others, attending sessions, working with students, or just sitting on a one on one with a close colleague.”

When reflecting on this award, Barbara shares the honor with her fellow psychiatric-mental health nurses, as they are the reason behind her years of service. “This is the Year of the Nurse and I would really like for every member to be honored. Especially in this year of pandemic illness and racism, nurses in the trenches need to be honored for their steadfastness,” she says.