A Message from the President

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

September 2011


Dear Friends,

As psychiatric mental health nurses, we understand the importance of connection in the nurse-patient relationship.  As professionals, connecting and engaging with each other is essential. It’s what keeps us resilient and constantly growing both individually and as a group. Almost a year ago in my first President’s Message I wrote that, “We truly do stand on the shoulders of giants…but we are just beginning.”  Since then, we as a membership have grown not only taller, but also closer together. It has been so wonderful to take part in the giant leaps and bounds forward we have made together in promoting quality and safety in psychiatric mental health nursing through connection, engagement, and partnership.

APNA’s infrastructure relies upon member engagement and participation. When formulating a position or resolving upon an action, the Board of Directors uses input from members and councils to inform their decision. Thus, each Board decision represents a synthesis of all of our thoughts, comments, and expertise. Examples include APNA’s recent comments regarding Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Quality Reporting Measures which were submitted to CMS and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), and our most recent position paper on staffing inpatient psychiatric units.

The origins of this position paper, which was approved by the Board earlier this month, lie in the concerns voiced by many members regarding staffing inpatient units and its vital importance to psychiatric mental health nursing. In response, the Board of Directors asked the Administrative Council to convene a workgroup to examine the matter and make recommendations regarding staffing that protects quality of care and ensures safety for both patients and staff. I would like to sincerely thank the members of the workgroup for their tireless and incredible work on this paper: Avni Cirpili, MSN, RN (Co-Chair); Anne Kelly, RN (Co-Chair); Tina Aown, MSN, RN-BC, CNML; Kathleen Delaney, PhD, PMH-NP, FAAN; Jolie Gordon-Browar MSN, RN-BC, PMH; Nancy P. Hanrahan, PhD, RN, FAAN; Jeannine Loucks, MSN, RN-BC; Renee John Repique, MS, RN, NEA-BC.

Many of you have already read the position statement, an executive summary of the full position paper, on the website and submitted thoughtful and constructive feedback. If you have not done so, you can read the position statement here. At the bottom of this page is a link for feedback, where you can provide us with your comments and thoughts on the paper. Your perspectives and input are invaluable and as noted above, truly shape the association. We’re thrilled that the full position paper, which more thoroughly discusses the issues and recommendations outlined in the position statement, is expected to be published in the January/February issue of JAPNA.

This position paper represents an enormous step forward - it thoroughly examines the factors that influence staffing, explores the current data available on staffing models, and makes some great recommendations. Again, we stand on the shoulders of giants…but we are just beginning. There is still much to build upon, and the next step lies with us. The position paper calls for psychiatric mental health nurses to take the lead in determining nurse specific indicators for establishing and measuring the quality and safety of patient care on inpatient psychiatric units, researching staffing specifically on psychiatric units and hospitals,  and looking into the availability of a flexible and effective acuity tool. It recommends that APNA establish a workgroup and collaborate with other organizations and other nurse researchers to act on these recommendations. We have a lot of exciting work ahead of us. I have no doubt that we will once again come together to exchange ideas, formulate policies, advance our profession, and speak for psychiatric mental health nursing on this important issue.

The past year has been an incredible experience; the brilliance, passion, and energy embodied by the membership has made serving as APNA President both inspiring and humbling. I look forward to meeting many of you in person at the APNA 25th Annual Conference next month. I hope that you will stop me and say hello when you see me. I can think of no better way to celebrate everything we’ve accomplished together over the past 25 years than by spending several days with amazing friends and colleagues from all over in beautiful California!


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