January 2018 APNA President's Message

APNA News: The Psychiatric Nursing Voice  |  January 2018 Members' Corner Edition

Linda BeeberScope of Practice

Linda S. Beeber, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN


“Individual nurses are accountable for ensuring that they practice within the limits of their own competence, professional code of ethics, and professional practice standards.”

Scope and Standards of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing (2014), p. 1

Dear Colleagues,

Is this within my scope of practice? Recent discussions amongst members and an excellent session coming up at the APNA Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute West this March have reminded me that there are many tools out there to help you ensure that you are operating within your scope of practice.

Scope and StandardsAs the quote above reminds us, we must stand firm in the integrity of our practice, education, and training and resist external pressures to venture outside of our scope. This is one of the important ways that we ensure the safety of our patients. The foundation for scope of practice, of course, lies within the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice. If you haven’t looked it over in some time, I recommend you refresh your memory with the eBook version available on the website for all APNA members.

Education is also invaluable when keeping up-to-date on what falls within your scope. APNA expert Gina Reiners, PhD, APRN, PMHNP, PMHCNS provided two excellent presentations on understanding the legal and regulatory ramifications related to our scope of practice at APNA Annual Conferences. You can access the recordings in the APNA eLearning Center. At the APNA Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute West this March in San Diego, attorney and nurse Carolyn Buppert, MSN, JD, ANP will discuss the legal issues in prescribing – something which is very much linked to our scope of practice and has profound implications for our liability. Have expertise of your own in this area? Please submit an abstract for the Annual Conference! Education on this topic is always in high demand.

And then there is always your APNA community. Posting a question about your scope of practice to your chapter community or the All-Purpose Discussion Forum is a great way to tap into the collective expertise to which your membership gives you access.

Scope of Practice Because our nursing license is state-based, there is inevitable variability between states when it comes to qualifications for licensure. The national council of state board of nursing offers a Nurse Practice Act toolkit where you can locate your state’s practice act and more. If you are a PMH-APRN, the APNA APRN Council created a wonderful state by state guide which lists practice authority, terminology, relevant legislation and more for PMH-APRNS.

What about if you want to bring change to your state so that you may practice to the fullest extent of your education and training? APNA is here to support you as you advocate as a constituent. At the national level there are position papers and resources to support your points. Further, your chapter provides you with a core group of colleagues to help you keep up-to-date on the current issues in your state and refine your talking points as new APNA resources and education become available.

I look forward to seeing you at many of the superb educational opportunities your community has planned for this year!


Linda S. Beeber, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN
APNA President

AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC NURSES ASSOCIATION and APNA-Logoare registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as trademarks of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.
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.