Aimee-Lynn SheltryAimee-Lynn Sheltry, BSN, RN-BC
2017 Award for Excellence in Practice - RN


"Aimee-Lynn has a natural ability to care for others and modifies her nursing practice to meet the challenging needs of the patients,” says Michele Moreau, who nominated Aimee-Lynn Sheltry for the APNA Award for Excellence in Practice – RN. “I remember clearly one case of a young girl who struggled with going to bed at night. Aimee-Lynn sat with this young girl for many nights as she would try to fall asleep. She discovered during these times the ‘whys’ and was able to put in place simple interventions that allowed her to get to sleep peacefully.” Aimee-Lynn’s commitment to providing person-centered care to vulnerable children and adolescents is why she is this year’s recipient of the APNA Award for Excellence in Practice – RN.

At a Glance
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Passion:
Collaborative Care; Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Words of Wisdom to Future Nurses:
“Be kind, supportive, and remember to focus on the whys…Never lose sight of [each individual’s] history – remember this is just a bump in their journey.”

Psych Nursing Light Bulb Moment:
“The first time that I saw a child with mental illness improve dramatically, I knew I was home.”

Aimee-Lynn knew from a young age she wanted to provide mental health care. “My uncle was a mental health counselor. I was intrigued with the type of work and clients he served,” she says. “The only clinical that felt right was my psychiatric rotation. The first time that I saw a child with mental illness improve dramatically, I knew I was home.” Aimee-Lynn currently works at the Anna Philbrook Center, the child and adolescent unit at New Hampshire Hospital. “Often, we see patients during some of their darkest days when they feel they have lost all control,” she says. “The most rewarding aspect of my job is every time that I can work with a patient through a crisis.”  

Upon joining the Center in 2005, Aimee-Lynn began to take on more responsibility, eventually assuming her current role as the Nurse Specialist on second shift in 2011. Aimee-Lynn has led the Center’s shift in treatment approach from a control model to a patient/staff collaborative model through the use of scripted communication techniques. She ensured a smooth transition by initiating training sessions, creating an effective assignment tool, and working with her staff during pre/post shift gatherings to usher in the new model of care. “Aimee is committed to providing a safe, nurturing and compassionate milieu where children and adolescents collaborate with staff to develop skills that will lead to a successful adaptation to their environment once they return to their community,” says Angela Carter, one of Aimee-Lynn’s references. “Her influence on these nurses has helped many of them develop the skills, confidence and poise necessary to provide outstanding critical care for psychiatric patients, resulting in improved retention of our nursing staff.”

Since implementing this change, Aimee-Lynn has witnessed the important role that collaboration plays in recovery. “A collaborative model of care allows us, as nurses, to return the control back to the patient, to work directly with them to establish a therapeutic rapport and arrive at a solution that is mutually agreed upon opposed to one that is solely decided by the nurse. Ultimately improving patient outcomes and decreasing traumatic interventions,” she says. As Diane Allen, Aimee-Lynn’s nominator, explains, it is Aimee-Lynn’s willingness to adapt that helps her deliver personalized care. “Aimee-Lynn has embraced a relationship-based, trauma-informed and recovery-oriented philosophy of care and suggested numerous changes in practice that have made a positive difference in the lives of the children and adolescents who have received her care,” says Allen. “She is a fierce patient advocate, who is not afraid to challenge anyone or anything that interferes with the very best in patient care.”

When looking to the future, Aimee-Lynn encourages nursing students to always reach out to those to whom they provide care: “Be kind, supportive, and remember to focus on the whys, instead of the whats, which is often the only thing people see. Never lose sight of [each individual’s] history – remember this is just a bump in their journey.” We look forward to celebrating Aimee-Lynn’s journey at the APNA 31st Annual Conference in Phoenix.

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