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Suicide Prevention in Acute Care Settings

Deaths by suicide in hospital settings are preventable. A recent survey of 15,000 health and behavioral health care staff indicated that, among those who interact with patients, only half had received training in suicide screening or risk assessment, and only one-third felt strongly that they had the knowledge, skill, confidence, and comfort in providing care for individuals at risk for suicide.1 Updated requirements from The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goal for suicide prevention underscore the need to equip staff with education. Many of you are therefore searching for ways to train your nursing staff to assess suicide risk and keep patients safe.

A screenshot of the APNA AIDE algorithm.

To help train nursing staff to assess suicide risk and keep patients safe, APNA offers the Competency Based Training for Suicide Prevention – Acute Care Settings. This 1.5 hour in-person training (with a few online components) uses active learning to empower nurses in acute care settings with essential tools for identifying patients who may be at-risk and keeping them safe. The process nurses learn with the training’s APNA AIDE Algorithm is easily incorporated into their current assessments and will not add significant time to their workload.

By completing this competency based training, nurses who work in acute care will be able to:
  • Understand the phenomenon of suicide.
  • Complete a suicide risk assessment using the newly-developed APNA algorithm.
  • Communicate the risk assessment and warning signs in written and verbal form to the healthcare team members.
  • Assess the environment for hazards (e.g. ligature risks) based on unit and personal levels.
  • Develop an initial shared safety plan.
  • Earn 1.5 nursing continuing professional development contact hours.

Program Details and Pricing
1 Year Lease:
Bundled Registration Pricing:
Blocks of: Cost:
1-5 seats $18/person ($90 for 5)
6-10 seats $17/person ($170 for 10)
Email for further details and discounted registration pricing for larger groups.


APNA will work with you to provide training for two of your staff to facilitate this workshop at your organization. A one year lease structure entitles you to the necessary materials and the ability to train the number of staff that works for your needs and budget on your timeline (seats priced separately).

Bulk purchase discount pricing is available with discounts that increase according to the number of seats you order. For complete details email:

Competency Based Training for Suicide Prevention – Acute Care Settings Task Force

Barbara Bonney, PMH APRN
Dorothy Kassahn, MS, MEd., RN, PMHCNS-BC
Barbara Limandri, PhD, PMHCNS-BC
Pam Marcus, RN, APRN/PMH-BC
Cheryl Puntil, MN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
Amanda Schuh, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC
Catherine Skowronsky, MSN, RN, ACNS, CMSRN – Consultant from the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses

Marie Kodadek, PhD, RN, CNE – APNA Staff

Program content created using evidence from:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2016.

Mills, P., King, L.,Watts, B.,& Hemphill, R. (2013) Inpatient suicide on mental health units in Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals: Avoiding environmental hazards. General Hospital Psychiatry, 35, 528-536.

National Action Alliance For Suicide Prevention: Transforming Health Systems Initiative Work Group (2018). Recommended standard care for people with suicide risk: Making health care suicide safe. Washington, DC: Educational Development Center, Inc.

Rudd,M.D.(2008) Suicide warning signs in clinical practice. Current Psychiatry Reports, 10, 87-90.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) Safety plan template and Risk factors and warning signs.

The Joint Commission (2017). Ligature Risk: Assessing and mitigating risk for suicide and self-harm.

Van Orden, K., Witte, T., Cukrowicz, K., Braithwaite, S., Selby, E., & Joiner Jr., T. (2011). The interpersonal theory of suicide. Psychology Review, 117(2), 575–600. doi:10.1037/a001869

1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (17 September, 2018). Assessing Workforce Readiness to Provide Comprehensive Suicide Care. Retrieved from:

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.