APNA Colorado Chapter
2016 Award for Innovation – Chapter

APNA Colorado Chapter
From left, Colorado Chapter Board Members: Cara Dasher, Heike Barnett, Nicole Brodrick, Kerry Peterson, and Jaime Beitz.

The Colorado Chapter was revitalized in 2014 when 5 Colorado nurses leapt at the chance to create a local community of APNA nurses. In the two years since it was formed, the Colorado Chapter has led the way in establishing educational opportunities and sharing resources with nurses across the state. Nicole Brodrick, Chapter President, describes their dedication, saying, “We are a motivated group. We are able to use our resources as a team to get the word out about our chapter.” For their efforts to revitalize the chapter and increase the accessibility of recovery-based education, the APNA Colorado Chapter is the recipient of this year’s Award for Innovation – Chapter.

In 2014, the chapter partnered with the University of Colorado’s continuing education program, Lifelong Learning. With this support, the Colorado Chapter became the first chapter to pilot APNA’s curriculum to help nurses integrate recovery-oriented practices into the care they provide: APNA Recovery to Practice Program: Acute Care Psychiatric Mental-Health Nurses: Preparing for Recovery-Oriented Practice. Since then, the chapter has held four conferences to disseminate this interactive group learning curriculum and provide continuing education to participants. They hosted representatives from Texas, Wyoming, Utah, and New Mexico at their conference in October and further shared education about implementing the APNA Recovery to Practice model.

At a Glance
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Passion:
Recovery, community education

Words of Wisdom to Future Nurses:
“It is important to be a part of something bigger than yourself. An individual can make an impression, but a group can make an impact."

Favorite Color:
Purple ("Like the columbine flower.")

 “While a new chapter, over the last three years, this remarkable group of individuals have tirelessly and diligently worked to organize and facilitate chapter sponsored workshops on the recovery to improve the lives of those with serious mental illness,” says Michael Rice, one of the Colorado Chapter’s nominators, of their efforts. “The goal of the APNA Colorado Chapter has been to make sure that all nurses within the state hospital system are trained in delivering recovery-based care.” Brodrick explains, "We provide education to mental health nurses in different parts of the state and promote networking amongst all levels of care. We encourage a dialogue at our conferences and hope to inspire the next generation of nurse leaders."

This year the Colorado Chapter is dedicating its efforts to address the phenomenon of suicide.  Colorado has one of the highest suicide rates in the US. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Colorado lost 1,058 people to suicide in 2014, putting their suicide rate at 19.4 per 100,000 residents. To address this phenomenon, the Colorado Chapter begins at the most basic level of care: communication. “We talk about how attitudes, values, and beliefs can influence a patient’s recovery,” Brodrick says. “The development of a therapeutic rapport can influence if the patient discloses accurate information during assessment about suicidal ideation.” To share this information and other expertise with nurses across the state, the next Chapter Conference in April will be on the topic of suicide prevention with a keynote from well-known expert on suicide prevention Dr. Thomas Joiner.

The Colorado Chapter is dedicated to advancing the future of psychiatric-mental health nursing with accessible education for all nurses in the state.  "It is important to be a part of something bigger than yourself," says Brodrick of the Colorado Chapter philosophy. "An individual can make an impression, but a group can make an impact." Despite their comparative newness, the Colorado Chapter has made great strides towards accomplishing this goal. We look forward to celebrating their achievements in Hartford at the APNA 30th Annual Conference.

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The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.