A Message from the President

Beth Phoenix, PhD, RN, CNS

April 2013


In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy observed, “Spring is the time of plans and projects” and this is nowhere more true than in APNA.  The program for APNA’s Clinical Pharmacology Institute, “Beyond Diagnosis: Dimensions of Psychopharmacologic Practice across the Lifespan,” (June 20-23) has been posted and the CPI Planning Committee has once again assembled an all-star lineup of presenters. Keynote speakers will be Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, and David Mineta, Deputy Director of Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The CPI program also includes an impressive array of psychiatric nursing experts and colleagues from other disciplines. If you haven’t already done so, you can register here—the early bird registration discount is good until June 3. Thanks to CPI Planning Committee Chair Julie Carbray and her committee for putting together such a fantastic conference!

More exciting news—the slate for the 2013 APNA elections will be announced in the next couple of weeks. The Nominating Committee was flooded with talent—they reviewed 55 completed applications from members willing to commit their time and energy to advancing psychiatric nursing. Nominating Committee Chair Michael Polacek was blown away by the quality of the applicant pool—“I was awed by the accomplishments of these folks!” Needless to say, selecting a leadership slate that best represents APNA’s diversity in terms of geographic distribution, type and level of practice, practice setting, and history of APNA involvement was not easy and many deserving individuals could not be included in the final slate. In order to capture the energy and talents of the applicants who were not selected, a member of the APNA Board will be contacting each one to discuss how we can support their interest in APNA leadership. Thanks to all of you who stepped forward to run for a leadership position, and thanks especially for all the hard work of the Nominating Committee. 

Another way to acknowledge the wonderful contributions of our APNA members is to nominate a colleague for an APNA Annual Award. These awards recognize APNA members who demonstrate excellence in psychiatric-mental health nursing practice, education, research, leadership, community efforts and more. Awards recipients will be recognized in person at the APNA 27th Annual Conference, on the APNA website and in the newsletter, and in a special APNA Awards press release. This is a great opportunity to share your appreciation for the efforts of APNA’s “hidden treasures” so get your nomination form in by April 22!

As well as highlighting these upcoming events, I also wanted to let you know about some recent accomplishments. At the February APNA Board of Directors meeting, the Board received training in Strengths-Based Leadership, an approach that helps leadership teams to identify and build on individual and collective strengths.  We also reviewed efforts we have supported to advocate for mental health promotion and increasing access to mental health services. These include letters to the President, Senate and House of Representatives regarding legislation on appropriations and mental health services. APNA’s Continuing Education staff presented a very exciting proposal to develop a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing certificate program. The proposed PMHN certificate would use APNA’s e-Learning Center to: 1) make foundational PMHN education available to all nurses regardless of their practice setting; 2) provide educational support as nurses transition from the classroom to clinical practice; 3) offer RN-level coursework in psychiatric nursing that will meet the continuing education requirement for certification. Making available this high-quality content produced by psychiatric nursing experts would offer a tremendous resource to psychiatric staff nurses and the educators and administrators who support them to provide high-quality care. The Board has approved the development of a business plan for the certificate program that will be presented at our June Board meeting.

On March 17, APNA held its first annual Council Summit. APNA’s councils and institutes were each represented by one of their co-chairs and were joined by staff and members of the Board. Issues that were discussed included: 1) the role of council chairs, which is shifting from a focus on projects to identifying significant developments within the purview of their council, making recommendations to the Board and nurturing developing leaders; 2) how to engage APNA members in the work of the councils; 3) inter-council collaboration; and 4) how to make best use of staff support to enhance council functioning. Attendees agreed that the opportunity to interact with other council chairs and re-envision the work of their councils inspired and energized them.

Last but not least, I want to encourage you to “Remember the Alamo!” or, more to the point, remember the upcoming APNA Annual Conference in San Antonio from October 9-12. San Antonio should be an exceptionally fun venue for the conference, with access not only to historical sites such as the Alamo Plaza but also to modern attractions such as the River Walk and Tower of the Americas. The conference program will be finalized soon.  The Scholarly Review Committee is completing the selection of presentations for the conference and keynote speakers are being confirmed—will keep you posted. Adios for now!

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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.