California Chapter
2009 Award for Innovation - Chapter

Written by Mary Marks

As you read down the list of APNA’s 2009 award winners, California looms large. Leaving behind their state’s wildfires, earthquakes and fiscal upheaval, the contingent in Charleston coalesced in camaraderie and purpose, in an aura of accomplishment.

“We definitely enjoyed celebrating and having late-night gatherings, mostly in Marlene [Nadler-Moodie]’s room,” says Ann Bispo, the chapter’s president, who accepted the award for innovation. “It was a lot of fun also to reflect on the history of the chapter and brainstorm on the future. It was especially nice to have all those people there and share.”

Even after a couple of months, excitement came through in Bispo’s voice as she named names of the celebrants from her state, a cadre of “respected leaders who are innovators recognized throughout the county—it was very exciting just to be together.”

Not content to sit on their laurels, sipping champagne and sparkling cider, the enthusiastic chapter members used their late-night rumpuses to conceive their next moves, including the annual state conference, May 1. The incoming president, Mary Ann Nihart, who travels the state as part of her job, will stop in at as many psych units as possible during her term. Her focus, besides facilitating safety roundtables, is promoting “trauma-informed care,” understanding of the biopsychosocial impact of trauma and translating that awareness to improved interventions.

Bispo, a detox and chemical-dependency liaison nurse at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, said that Nihart and Nadler-Moodie, president-elect and past president respectively, were instrumental in the activity that won the chapter its award.

The chapter identified the needs of nurses through APNA national. “There was a National Institute for Safe Environments, and goals from that were identified as needs for reducing workplace violence, safe staffing, and seclusion and restraint reduction,” Bispo said. “Marlene and Mary Ann went around the state facilitating roundtables, focusing on creating safe environments, and seclusion of and freedom from restraints, really trying to gear it toward nurses at the bedside.

“The chapter put on a number of safety roundtables—very popular and well received,” she added. “We also wrote and received a grant from AstraZeneca for $1,500 to continue to provide these interactive roundtables around the state. And we had one at Loma Linda University Hospital, where we brought together emergency, medical-surgical and psychiatric nurses to discuss safety issues.

“Basically,” Bispo said, ”the goal is to create a forum for advanced-practice and point-of-care nurses to discuss and share their experiences, issues, ideas and successes to promote a safe workplace environment, for both patients and nurses.”

Focus and hard work—even amidst late-night celebrating—earns recognition for a chapter that had a little Hollywood going on in Charleston.


The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.