Chapter News: Fostering a Global Network

Members Thelma McKenzie (3rd from right) and R. John Repique (4th from right) with the other nurses during the visit.

APNA’s Member Bridge: Fostering a Global Network of Psychiatric Nurses

In May 2012, when Thelma McKenzie, principal nursing officer for the Bahamas Public Hospitals Authority, Division of Behavioral Health, posted on the APNA Member Bridge looking for a psychiatric hospital in South Florida to tour and visit, APNA Member and APNA Florida Chapter Board Member-at-Large John Repique, MS, RN, NEA-BC, Vice-President/Chief Administrative Officer & Chief Nursing Officer for the Jackson Mental Health Hospital (JMHH) in Miami, FL responded to the post and extended the invitation to host.

On Friday June 1, 2012, a group of 25 delegates from the Bahamas Public Hospitals Authority Division of Behavioral Health visited JMHH. The purpose of the visit was two-fold. (1) To create a global collaborative networking partnership with our state-of-the-art facility, and (2) To explore new and innovative ways to transform mental health within their healthcare delivery system using current and best practice models. Horace Ellis, MSN, ARNP, nurse educator, clinical specialist, and psychiatric nurse practitioner, served as JMHH’s liaison and coordinated the visit with the Bahamas delegation.

This was the third year in a row that this group has chosen to visit JMHH as the central point of coordination for their annual South Florida mental health retreat. As their host, JMHH has been providing them with administrative and clinical/educational support.

Last year, the group also toured Jackson North Community Mental Health Center (JNCMHC) of Jackson Health System located in Opa-Locka, FL where they were treated with lunch and presentations coordinated by Gayon Dunn, MSN, ARNP, nurse manager and her team from the JNCMHC-Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU). This visit also included the New Horizon Community Mental Health Center, another community partner of JMHH. They were very impressed with exposure and experience from these community care models that they decided to visit the Henderson Mental Health Clinic in Broward County during their week-long retreat in June of this year.

Their agenda this year was in part to network with JMHH mental health experts on program development. This international partnership initiative has developed into a true shared learning experience that is expected to be ongoing. The Bahamas delegates have expressed interest in asking for our expert clinical consultation in program and best practice development of psychiatric mental health nursing. The primary focus would be on verbal de-escalation skills and techniques and the reduction/elimination of physical restraints.


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