September 2009

APNA News: The Psychiatric Nursing Voice

A Message from the President

Mary E. Johnson, PhD, RN

September 2009

This is my last column as APNA President. I have had had the privilege to be elected to serve on two separate occasions, which prompts me to reflect on those two tours on the board of directors. From that position, I was provided an opportunity to witness the true strength of our organization, the members. In both instances, I have been amazed by the generosity of psychiatric nurses. Our members are always ready, willing and able to donate their time and expertise to the benefit of their colleagues and the patients for whom we care. Regardless of how busy a member is with work or family, the response when the call for help goes out is swift and strong.

One of the big differences between my first term and this current one is not the number of issues that we face, but the speed with which we need to address these issues. There are times when a position is sought and the time frame to respond is less than 24 hours. Despite that demand, the responsiveness of APNA members enables us to do so. We have increased our membership since my first term. That growth has been steady over the past several years going from 4500 to 6500 active members. To accommodate that growth, we have developed a process for inclusion of many members and opportunities for them to participate. When we tell other association leaders and executives that we have committees that have as many as 150 members, and that those committees are fully functional and productive, we have their attention.

Nurses are very special people and psychiatric nurses are tops on my list. Recognizing that our strength is our members, we must look continually for methods to facilitate the ability of our members to network and exchange information and ideas. I am very excited about a new initiative that will be introduced on our website in the next few weeks. It is called Member Bridge and it will function in a manner similar to Facebook. It will be for APNA members only and will include resource libraries, communities of interest, wikis, blogs and list serves. At a time when communication with many members is crucial and turnaround time is critical, this new program will position APNA to be even more responsive to our members and the outside world. I hope you will take advantage of the new service when it is introduced. I believe it will facilitate our interaction with each other and thereby build on our greatest strength, our members.

My time as a member of the APNA Board and my year as President is a hallmark in my life. The passion of psychiatric nurses and the energy they have to advocate for our profession and our patients is inspiring. To be a part of it is enriching but to have had the confidence of the members to serve a president is humbling. Thank you for the confidence you placed in me. I will continue on the Board for another year as past president and I am confident that the presidency is being placed in the very capable hands of Mary Moller. Thank you for support and thank you for an incredible experience.

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