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APNA President’s Message – March 2021

PMH Nurses: Bringers of Hope

We recently hit the one-year mark of this global pandemic. As JAPNA Editor-in-Chief Geri Pearson noted in her recent editorial, more awareness and discussion around of concept of COVID fatigue and its effect on nurses in emerging. It is clear: we must take care of ourselves as we would care for others.

There is currently a sense of optimism that perhaps the end of the pandemic is in sight. We may not know what the future holds, but we do know the toll taken on our mental health, and that of those we serve, by this pandemic. But that does not mean that we should not feel optimistic and hopeful: in fact, as psychiatric-mental health nurses, we are bringers of hope!

As you reflect on the fact that you have been under a heightened level of stress for a significant period of time, it is okay if you do not feel hopeful right now. Remember to treat yourself with the same care and grace you use with others. And remember that there are resources available to help.

When it comes to the impacts of the pandemic on those with mental health and substance use disorders, this year’s virtual APNA Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute will offer updates and cutting-edge clinical pearls that will help you meet patients’ needs where they are now. The Director of NIMH, Dr. Gordon, will introduce emerging research about the impact of the pandemic on mental health. Dr. Koob, Director of NIAAA will do the same with attention to the science behind alcohol and stress and treatment options to address rising rates of alcohol misuse. Our nurse colleague Dr. Kathleen Wright will explore an integrated approach to the physiologic impact of COVID-19 stress on older adults. Nursing expert Eugenia I. Flores Millender, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, CDE will present on the importance of cultural safety in providing mental health care to culturally diverse patients. And those are just a few sessions in the phenomenal program put together by the CPI Program Committee.

Nothing can quite replace the fellowship of connecting with psychiatric-mental health nurses who understand what you are experiencing. Even though it is delivered virtually, CPI will provide ample opportunities to chat and discuss issues with your colleagues from around the country. If last year’s virtual CPI is any indication, it will be just the energizing and rejuvenating experience we need right now.

As we forge ahead, I encourage you to continue finding things to be hopeful about. Whether that’s the certainty of collegial connection, the promise of the end of the pandemic, or even just the first days of spring, these bright spots will help us even if we face challenges.

APNA President Matthew Tierney, MS, CNS, ANP, PMHNP, FAAN