Council News: Addictions & Tobacco Dependence
Tobacco Dependence Group Joins the APNA Addictions Council
“I'm thrilled to be working with Dr. Carol Essenmacher in chairing the newly blended Addictions Council and Tobacco Dependence Council,” says Matt Tierney, PMHNP-BC, ANP-BC, Chair of the APNA Addictions Council. On January 1st the Tobacco Dependence Council integrated with the Addictions Council, now operating as a branch within the Addictions Council. Tierney and Tobacco Dependence Branch Chair Carol Essenmacher, DNP, C-TTS will work collaboratively, under the guidance of the APNA Board of Directors, to support psychiatric-mental health nurses in their clinical, education, and research efforts in addictions, including tobacco dependence. The blending of the two councils “makes a lot of sense” from a structural standpoint, Tierney says. “As with other councils, the now-merged Addictions Council will provide structure for APNA members to get engaged around important issues in a focused topic area.” The blending of the two groups also signifies a broader recognition that tobacco dependence IS an addiction, a message that the Tobacco Dependence Group has worked to communicate since its formation.
Essenmacher explains what this merger indicates for the Tobacco Dependence Branch from a philosophical standpoint: “Probably the most important thing that psychiatric nurses can do to help our patients realize their own recovery dreams is to support behavior change,” Essenmacher says. “With the merging of the Addictions (AD) Council and the Tobacco Dependence (TD) Council, we have before us an excellent opportunity to lead by example. Taking the long view (i.e. long term behavior change), it is important to organize our tobacco and nicotine treatment thoughts, plans, and efforts with an eye on the interplay of this addiction within the broader addictions context.”
The Addictions Council is relatively new – formed last year, while the Tobacco Dependence Council has an established 7-year track record of initiatives, such as the recent Virtual Nursing Academy of Champions for Smoking Cessation. “For the [Addictions] Council to now have the added strength - and experience - of the fully-developed and hard-working Tobacco Dependence Council is amazing,” says Tierney. As the Addictions Council identifies its broader vision, “the work and momentum of the Tobacco Dependence Council’s projects will continue, and this year the Addictions Council will certainly see the development of exciting new projects,” says Tierney. As for the Tobacco Dependence Branch, “My intentions as co-chair, are to guide the Tobacco Dependence Branch members to proceed with single-minded, cogent plans maximizing our efforts to help our patients quit tobacco and nicotine use - AND – support their identified mental health recovery goals,” says Essenmacher. “Those of you who have been involved with the Tobacco Dependence Council and to those of you who are new to tobacco] dependence, please join me in these efforts to merge our focus into overall addictions nursing care." Tierney reiterates this invitation: “APNA truly has a wealth of nursing expertise in the field of substance use and addictive disorders!” he says. “Stay tuned and get engaged: we need your expertise and energy.”
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