A Message from the President

Carole Farley-Toombs, MS, RN, NEA-BC
May 2011


Dear Colleagues,

My President’s Message usually focuses on psychiatric mental health nursing because of course, that’s what we do. For Nurses Week however, it seems appropriate to remember that we, as psychiatric mental health nurses, are first and foremost nurses. Every year National Nurses Week begins on National Nurses Day, May 6th, and ends on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12th. It’s a time to celebrate the importance of nursing in healthcare and reaffirm our commitment to it. The word “nurse” itself is a special word. It is one of the few words that functions as both a noun and a verb. According to Merriman Webster Dictionary, nurse as a noun is “one who looks after, fosters or advises.” To nurse as a verb means “to promote the development or progress of.” The dual nature of the word reflects the dual nature of the nursing profession: As nurses we look after, foster and advise our patients and families but we are also responsible for promoting the development and progress of the nursing profession. The thread that is common to both of these roles is caring. We must be, no matter our specialty, “Nurses trusted to Care,” this year’s Nursing Week theme.

It’s an exciting time to be a nurse. The Institute of Medicine’s report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, confirms that. Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and led by a committee of nationally renowned experts from nursing, medicine, and other disciplines, it concluded that nurses need to take a greater leadership role in the delivery and development of care. The public’s high regard for our profession and their trust, along with our education and skills, put us in an excellent position to assume that leadership role.

As the key component in quality care, nurses are being called on by both patients and health care experts to optimize our profession’s contributions in order to better meet the needs of all patients. In order to provide all patients with quality health care it is imperative that we continue to practice to the fullest extent of our skills, education, training and licensure. It’s also important to note that every nurse, from bedside, to clinic, to boardroom, to classroom plays a vital role in transforming both our profession and patient care. Let’s step up and meet the challenge. Let’s become the change we want to see.

APNA is here to serve as a conduit for effecting this change. I believe that we as psychiatric mental health nurses should lead the way in exemplifying the empowerment that association membership confers. Remember, APNA is not a “professional association” looking to sustain itself. It is an “association of professionals” that collectively sustains each other and the people we serve. In order for us to provide effective care, removing the barriers that keep nurses from practicing to the fullest extent of their education, training, and licensure is of paramount importance right now. Our profession needs your help in identifying these barriers and breaking them down. The most valuable asset that APNA has is its nurses. Nurses trusted to care!!! Happy Birthday Florence Nightingale and Happy Nurses Week!!

Carole Farley-Toombs, MS, RN, NEA-BC
American Psychiatric Nurses Association

May 2011 APNA News Main



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