Mary Rosedale, PhD, PMHNP-BC, NEA-BC
2010 Award for Excellence in Leadership ~ Advanced

Cutting Edge. Pioneer. Visionary. Advocate. Such words unequivocally describe this year’s recipient of the APNA Award for Excellence in Leadership--and we’re not using them lightly! Mary Rosedale, PhD, PMHNP-BC, NEA-BC does not shy away from risks and unexplored territory; she has been doing so since she was a child: “I grew up as the youngest and only girl with two older brothers, so I have been saying ‘of course I can do that’ and then trying to figure out how for my entire life!” In addition to holding leadership positions at several academic institutions, she is a leading expert in the area of neurostimulation, not to mention the only nurse to have completed fellowships in TMS and Electroconvulsive Therapy at Columbia University – New York State Psychiatric Institute (CU-NYSPI).

Rosedale’s interest in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) began early in her career. “When I began my psychiatric nursing career,” she explains, “I observed the administration of electroconvulsive therapy to a severely depressed patient who had spent the previous days curled up in a fetal position on the couch, neither speaking nor eating.” The results of the treatment spoke for themselves. “After three ECT treatments, I escorted him to the door where he greeted his wife with an embrace and whispered: ‘I’m coming back.’” This was a pivotal moment for Rosedale. “Hearing my patient’s hope and resilience was an important lesson for me which shaped my practice and sparked my curiosity about how the brain works in illness and health and what electricity and seizures do to restore brain function.”

Later, while completing her doctorate at NYU, Rosedale became the first nurse to complete fellowships in ECT and TMS at CU-NYSPI. She stands as a leader in this cutting edge field and is a strong voice in promoting psychiatric nursing’s involvement in it in the midst of what she calls “a new age in scientific discovery.” “There is no doubt that the most significant advances in mental health care over the next generation will stem from new knowledge about the brain and the complex interplay of genetics with biology, environmental factors, and life-course experiences,” she says.

In her work with ECT Rosedale serves as the only nurse on the executive board of the International Society for Neurostimulation. She is also the only nurse in the Institute for Social and Policy Initiatives Research Education and Practice at NYU, which focuses on the prevention, early detection, treatment, and cure of the social impairments indigenous to conditions like depression. As a nurse, she brings unique advantages to the table. “Nurses are very effective integrators,” she explains, “we learn to interact with every hospital department, professionals, paraprofessionals, patients and family members during a 24 hour cycle of patient care. Our ‘learned’ skills of integrating, communicating, problem-solving and prioritizing relationships predisposes us to leadership roles within groups of clinicians and non-clinicians.” She also uses serving on these boards as an opportunity to advocate for the nursing profession. In her experience, “the public and other disciplines may think they understand nursing practice but they often need to be educated and shown how nurses can actually contribute to good outcomes for patients and families.”

Besides her two brothers, Rosedale credits mentors such as Judith Haber, Barbara Krainovich-Miller, and Michael Rice; and interdisciplinary mentors Sheila Strauss, Sarah Hollingsworth, and Holly Lisanby. Knowing that they are behind her is a constant reminder that “when people whom you admire and trust believe in your promise and provide guidance along the way, the capacity for growth can seem limitless.” She wants to give back: “I am inspired to grow into the kind of mentor that I have experienced and teach younger psychiatric nurses how to work with patients to help them develop resilience and enhanced capacities for optimizing their lives.”


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