How to Make APNA Transitions in Practice Work For Your Nursing Community

APNA News: The Psychiatric Nursing Voice  |  January 2017 Members' Corner Edition

Nurse Educators know it can be a challenge to find training that maintains a baseline of psychiatric-mental health knowledge across a dynamic nursing team. Diane Swengros, Senior Education Coordinator for the INOVA Learning Network observes, “Many nurses come with medical expertise yet lack skills necessary to care for those diagnosed with mental illness. Nursing schools provide very little psychiatric experience to students due to lack of available psychiatric placements. The APNA Transitions in Practice (ATP) online training has been the solution.” 

While the APNA Transitions in Practice certificate program was designed to work as both an introduction to the field and a refresher for those already practicing, Swengros sees an added value. A self-described advocate for the compassionate and expert care of those diagnosed with mental illness, she says her favorite part of the program is “the positive, compassionate approach to patient care that is portrayed throughout the modules. The tone set [by the program] reminds the learner that their patients possess human dignity and although staff members are seeing them at a vulnerable time in their life, maintaining hope is of the essence.“ 

“I see this as a gift the organization is
providing to set nurses up
for success in their new specialty.”

For the past two years Swengros has been making this certificate program available at INOVA, a five-hospital healthcare system with three inpatient general psychiatric units, one inpatient addiction treatment unit, and a myriad of outpatient psychiatric services. Swengros explains, “I have been purchasing seats in this course and offering them to all new graduates who are hired onto behavioral health inpatient units and any experienced nurses who are new to the specialty of mental health nursing.”  

The online curriculum consists of four self-paced modules (15 hours of content) covering foundational aspects of psychiatric-mental health nursing practice presented by experts in the field. Learners who complete the course earn 15 contact hours and a certificate. “The material is presented in an engaging manner with interactive pieces and videos,” observes Swengros. “The nurses can complete the modules at work during their orientation or at home.”   

With training budgets in mind, bulk purchase rates (for ten or more seats) are available where course registration fees are reduced based on the number of seats purchased. Organizations purchase the number of seats they need and are in control of distributing registrations internally within a six-month period. Individuals have ninety days to complete the course work once they begin.  

The relationship with APNA continues once learners begin the program. “APNA provides monthly reports on the nurses’ progress. This allows me to follow up on nurses who have not yet completed the program,” explains Swengros. APNA also provides resources to simplify program implementation as well as educational support for learners as they advance through the course. Swengros believes the program has filled a gap in her training curriculum. “I see this as a gift the organization is providing to set nurses up for success in their new specialty,” she remarks.  

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

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.