A Message from the President

Beth Phoenix, PhD, RN, CNS

June 2013


It’s June, and APNA is buzzing with the season’s spirit of growth. Like the plants and trees around us, APNA is blossoming with new members and new initiatives. Last month APNA’s membership reached 9,000 for the first time, marking an impressive 51% increase over the past 5 years. This represents not only a steady growth in new members, but also an impressive 82% retention rate. Certainly much of the credit for this goes to our amazing staff, but it is your professional support that really makes new APNA members want to stick around. The generous sharing of your expertise on Member Bridge, the eLearning Center and in council and chapter activities makes APNA an incredible place for professional networking and education, so give yourself a pat on the back!

Our Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute, which was held June 20-23 in Reston, VA, broke attendance records. The star-studded program made it a don’t-miss event - if you weren't able to make it, look for podcasts from the program in the eLearning Center in a month or so. Now that CPI has concluded, remember that registration for the APNA 27th Annual Conference, October 9-12 in San Antonio, TX is open, so I hope that you'll get your registration in ASAP.

Additional evidence of APNA’s growth can be seen in the excellent slate of candidates that is currently running for seats on APNA’s Board of Directors and Nominating Committee.  This year’s Nominating Committee, chaired by Michael Polacek, had a challenging task selecting the final slate from all the well-qualified applicants. Much thanks to them and to all the capable members who applied to run. Please check out the 2013 Election Voter Guide and cast your vote by July 5.

Our recent appeal for more expert psychiatric mental health nurses willing to participate as mentors in APNA’s Mentor Match program received a gratifying response—over 50 new mentors added to our database! With every new mentor that is added, we become better able to match the needs and interests of prospective mentees. The opportunity to share the passion and expertise of seasoned psychiatric nurses is crucial for those who are new to the field to fulfill their full potential, so the more of these mentor-mentee matches we can facilitate, the more our discipline will develop. When you see me at the Annual Conference, please come up and tell me your stories about how these mentoring relationships have advanced your practice.

Hard work during the winter by a group of APNA members determined to reduce suicides has now borne fruit in the form of an APNA position paper, “Competency-based Training for Nurse Generalists: Inpatient Intervention and Prevention of Suicide.” This paper makes a strong case for the importance of inpatient psychiatric mental health nurses in the fight to decrease tragic deaths from suicide, and recommends the development of a task force to develop and evaluate specific competencies for PMH-RNs to assess and manage suicide risk. The APNA Board of Directors approved the paper in May and is currently developing a plan to put these recommendations into action.

As APNA’s size and influence continue to grow, we are being invited to participate in important discussions of mental health on the national stage.  Executive Director Nick Croce received an invitation to represent APNA at the National Conference on Mental Health hosted at the White House on June 3. Both President Obama and Vice President Biden delivered forceful messages about the need to fight stigma and to extend care to all persons needing behavioral health services. VP Biden, in particular, repeatedly highlighted the importance of psychiatric nursing in this endeavor. In addition to the excitement of attending a White House event, Nick was seated at lunch with People magazine’s recent “Sexiest Man Alive,” Bradley Cooper, and got some tips about how to improve his chances to win this award. To support the National Dialogue on Mental Health initiative, APNA has created a page in our Resource Center with links to useful sites for people with mental health concerns and their families, as well as providers. Please use it in your practice and spread the word!

It was great to see many of you last week at CPI!

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