Marlene Nadler-Moodie, MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC
2019 Award for Distinguished Service

Marlene Nadler-MoodieFor Marlene Nadler-Moodie, MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, psychiatric-mental health nursing is a calling that transcends boundaries. “I think psychiatric-mental health nurses can be anywhere and everywhere,” she says. “I’d like [future PMHNs] to be open, to be in leadership positions, to be in the community, to be advocates – we can be really anything!” And Marlene has lived these words: as an advocate for patients, as a leader in her community and APNA, and as a dedicated servant of psychiatric-mental health nursing as a whole. For her efforts, Marlene is the 2019 recipient of the APNA Award for Distinguished Service.

At a Glance
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Passion:
Safe environments and restraint usage reduction

Words of Wisdom to Future Nurses:
“Be open, be in leadership positions, be in the community.”

How She Connects:
“In-person is number one!”

When updated regulations were released regarding restraint use twenty years ago, Marlene seized an opportunity to become more involved with APNA. “There was a call to be a part of the position statement and standards of care,” Marlene explains. “I thought, gee, if I do that, I’ll find out what I need to know!” But from this initial involvement, Marlene only became more passionate about restraint reduction.

 “Marlene became a champion for the reduction of seclusion and restraint use long before there was consensus understanding of its importance,” says Jeannine Loucks, Marlene’s reference. “Her ability to synthesize and share compelling restraint reduction research as well as her willingness to work side-by-side with nurses demonstrates that both patients and nurses are safer in an environment where nurses proactively engaged with patients.”

Upon presenting this work at an APNA Annual Conference, Marlene became more involved with her local community in California. As Marlene explains, “Once you become involved, it’s easy to stay involved.” While at the conference, Marlene met then-APNA California Chapter President Rebecca Sherwood who encouraged her to get involved with her chapter. “At the time, most of the chapter was mostly active in the Bay Area up north,” Marlene recalls. “I got excited to do what I called ‘shrink the state’ – to let people know that everything about the chapter wasn’t just in the Bay Area.” Marlene’s efforts encouraged APNA members from around the state to become involved in their local community and many are still active to this day. Of her involvement with her chapter, Marlene says, “I have made new, late life, great friends, something that is somewhat rare.”

After serving as President on the APNA California Chapter Board, Marlene was drawn to the APNA Board of Directors. She served as a Member-at-Large before ultimately becoming President. During her tenure, Marlene balanced her inclusive style of leadership with her passion for the profession. “Marlene has the uncanny ability to bring nurses from diverse geographic, educational, and practice backgrounds together,” says Loucks. “She consistently models the values of APNA while working tirelessly to advance the practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing.”

Marlene’s spirit of inclusivity extends beyond large scale leadership, as she actively seeks opportunities to mentor nurses both in psychiatric-mental health and in other specialties. “I love working with nurses who have questions, have a need, are insecure,” she explains. “My favorite part of my role is to work with [new nurses and nurses from other specialties] and help them succeed as they work with patients with a behavioral health challenge.” Naturally, Marlene extends her passion for guiding nurses to connect with new members of APNA. “Marlene invites, welcomes, and mentors other APNA members,” says Diane Allen, who nominated Marlene for this award. “She inspired me to become active in APNA and when she encouraged me to take on leadership roles, she always remained available and supportive while providing guidance and wisdom.”

When reflecting on the years spent connecting with nurses and patients, Marlene sees a common thread as a shortcut to connection: “In-person is number one! With the exception of 2018, I haven’t missed an APNA Annual Conference since that first one I went to. I love conference!” This year, we will be celebrating Marlene’s achievements as she continues to form new connections and maintain current ones with the community for whom she advocates.

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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.