Diane Allen, MN, RN-BC, NEA-BC
2015 Award for Excellence in Leadership – RN - See more at: http://www.apna.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=5785#sthash.XdNVCezL.dpuf
Diane Allen, MN, RN-BC, NEA-BC
2015 Award for Excellence in Leadership – RN - See more at: http://www.apna.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=5785#sthash.XdNVCezL.dpuf

Jane Mahoney, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC
2015 Award for Excellence in Research

For Jane Mahoney, the best way to combine her compassion with her drive for knowledge was to pursue psychiatric-mental health nursing. “Since a young age, I have been drawn to help vulnerable often marginalized people who are suffering,” she says. “My work in research, particularly in translating research to practice, has been so rewarding, as I see how nurses light up when they see how research can be de-mystified and made relevant.” For her trailblazing work in using evidence-based practice to advance psychiatric-mental health nursing, Mahoney is the recipient of this year’s APNA Award for Excellence in Research.

At a Glance
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Passion:
Research, Evidence-Based Practice, Patient-Centered Caring, Quality and Patient Safety

Words of Wisdom to Future Nurses:
“I think it is extremely important that future psychiatric nurses demonstrate a strong holistic knowledge base that includes the full bio-psycho-social-spiritual aspects of heath. I would challenge future PMHNs to lead through innovations to create a world in which there is no stigma for people with mental illness and where healthcare of a person is care of the whole person delivered with caring and compassion.”

Favorite Disney movie:
The Rescuers

Linda S. Beeber, Mahoney’s nominator, cites Mahoney’s work as Director of Nursing Practice & Research at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, Texas as one reason for her nomination. “The impact of Dr. Mahoney’s work has been remarkable, extending beyond more effective coordination of care within the interdisciplinary teams at Menninger to improved care in emergency departments, hospitals, clinics and communities,” she writes.  “She has led multiple research projects, created shared interdisciplinary work opportunities and, with a magical sense of timing and finesse, ensured that the beneficial results have been carried into practice.”

Mahoney’s research has focused on a variety of topics ranging from understanding the illness experience and clinical outcomes to patient safety to evidence-based practice. She considers patient safety research to be critical. “Without a safe environment, safe practices, and a culture of safety, the outcomes of all research-based interventions may be jeopardized,” she says. “I have been committed to mentoring nurses in how to translate research to practice. There is much work to be done in this area, so it is exciting to participate in a strong interdisciplinary team of researchers who are committed to understanding how psychiatric interventions impact patient outcomes.”

Her work at the Menninger Clinic saw the implementation of the Evidence-based Practice Scholars Program and Rapid Response Nursing Quality Improvement Teams, which assess issues in care, apply research-based evidence to these issues, and determine if the research improved care for patients. “The numerous evidence-based nursing improvement projects [Dr. Mahoney] has led have not only improved the quality of care for patients but have the potential to improve care across the nation based on the dissemination of findings in professional presentation forums both regionally and nationally, as well as through numerous publications with her colleagues,” says Danny G. Willis, one of Mahoney’s references. “She exemplifies the type of leader in nursing research that seamlessly bridges the gap between evidence and improved nursing care processes, policies, and outcomes.”

In 2014, Mahoney received the prestigious Richard E. Wainerdi Texas Medical Center Nurse Leader Award, and she currently serves as the only nurse member of the American Psychiatric Association Guidelines Writing Group. Additionally, she has been co-chair of the APNA Research Council since 2008 where she plans educational offerings for the APNA Annual Conference, reviews Foundation Research Grants, and works with council chairs to design programs catered to the needs of APNA members. “Whether she is in the classroom or on the podium, Dr. Mahoney has never missed an opportunity to take her message forward. In doing so, she does not stop at knowledge dissemination, but goes on to relay courage and deep compassion toward people struggling against a stigmatized, misunderstood health challenge,” says Beeber. “Through her work, care of the mentally ill will improve and even better, her legacy will be the establishment of a replicable process through which hospitals and care facilities can continue to improve care.”

Mahoney’s favorite Disney movie is The Rescuers. “Miss Bianca is a character I can relate to,” she says. “[She] was a classy lady who was fiercely committed to the cause!” Like Miss Bianca, Mahoney is fiercely committed to her cause of improving patient care through research, and we look forward to celebrating them alongside her at the APNA 29th Annual Conference at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.


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The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.