Diane Esposito, PhD, ARNP, PMHCNS-BC
2019 Award for Excellence in Education


Esposito’s passion for education was evident in her early years as a nurse, working with children and families at a Children’s Hospital. Mitigating child medical trauma using storytelling and play therapy, as well as instruction to parents regarding how to provide for their children’s special needs was always an important focus, that eventually led to specialization in PMH Nursing. The importance of education has always been a motivator for Diane Esposito, the 2019 recipient of the APNA Award for Excellence in Education. 

Her thoughtful advice to educate future nurses: “It is important to remember that the healing is in the relationship, and it takes time to establish a therapeutic alliance,” says Esposito. “Using motivational interviewing helps the client experience a collaborative partnership and empowers them to make the needed changes in response to mental health challenges.”

At a Glance

Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Passion:
Education

Words of Wisdom to Future Nurses:
"The healing is in the relationship"

How She Connects: "The time together at our conferences is very inspiring and helps to refill our cups, so we can pour out renewed energy and compassionate presence with all of those that we serve.”

Throughout her psychiatric-mental health nursing career, Diane has modeled the habits that she recommends to her students: taking on leadership roles, presenting at conferences, and contributing to service projects. Shirlee Davidson, MSN, RN explains, “Diane is an exceptional role model for all nurses, and especially psych mental health nurses who are involved with education. She constantly encourages new nurses and experienced nurses to write articles, present posters and give podium and panel presentations at the APNA national conference.”

Take, for example, the APNA Undergraduate Education Toolkit. “Thousands of people have utilized the toolkit to obtain additional knowledge on how to effectively teach psych-mental health nursing,” exclaims Davidson, in Diane Esposito’s nomination letter. She continues, “Diane co-led the development of a toolkit for teaching undergraduate students psychiatric-mental health nursing that can be accessed by all psych and non-psychiatric nurses, staff nursing educators and others interested in learning how to teach undergraduate psych nursing education.”

With roots in a briefing paper she wrote as co-chair of the Undergraduate Branch of the APNA Education Council, an idea grew into a study and was then transformed into a 2014 Annual Conference presentation. All three examined the question of how to insert psychiatric-mental health education into undergraduate nursing curriculum. This challenge has become a focal point for the work of APNA and a critical step in building a qualified workforce for the future. Her nominator and Education Council Steering Committee member Traci Sims, DNS, RN, CNS/PMH-BC, states, “Diane is always willing and open to new ideas and discussions in our monthly meetings. She and her co-chair helped the rest of the council see the vision for an undergraduate toolkit that could be beneficial to all PMHN undergraduate educators.”

Esposito looks to APNA conferences as a resource for both education and whole heath. “It is difficult work that we do, with patients - with our students - juggling the many needs of both, along with our own and those of our families. The time together at our conferences is very inspiring and helps to refill our cups, so we can pour out renewed energy and compassionate presence with all of those that we serve.”

Say congratulations to Diane Esposito as she is recognized for expanding education for the future nursing workforce at the APNA 33rd Annual Conference in New Orleans.

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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.