A Message from the President

Patricia D. Cunningham, DNSc, APRN, BC

December 2013


Building Connections

“The chuckle with which he said this, and the chuckle with which he paid for the turkey, and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab, and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy, were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again and chuckled till he cried.”
 - Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Scrooge is a familiar character for most of us, whether you’ve seen him played by Donald Duck in the Disney Cartoon or more memorably by Alistair Sim in the 1951 movie. Charles Dickens portrays an amazing transformation in A Christmas Carol. In the course of one night, Ebeneezer Scrooge’s character evolves from a man alone and despising the company of others to a man so full of the joy derived from connecting with those around him that he cannot stop chuckling.

Connection is our bread and butter in psychiatric-mental health nursing – or maybe it would be more apt to say that it is our cake! It is a deliciously sweet feeling when a connection with another – whether a client, a colleague, or a friend – is built. We help facilitate connections that our clients make as they heal and recover from mental health disorders. It is a giddy feeling. Connecting is what we strive to do every day in our work and I’m willing to bet that it is a large part of the reason why most of us chose this profession. Did you see the word cloud that was in APNA’s Thanksgiving email? One of the most common words we used to describe our own personal psychiatric-mental health nursing icons was compassionate. Undoubtedly we value connection with each other highly!

The field of psychiatric-mental health nursing is incredibly diverse and multi-faceted. Just look at the Daily Digests from Member Bridge that arrive in your email inbox each morning – so many fascinating conversations and interesting insights that run the gamut from understanding neurobiological needs, to working with clients in the inpatient setting to introducing students to psychiatric-mental health nursing to running a private practice. APNA provides us with a way to unite across this exciting and varied field and learn from each other, support each other, connect with each other.

That is why I’m so very excited about this year’s Annual Conference theme, Building Connections: Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Perspectives. I hope that you will consider sharing your particular unique perspective from research to practice and everything in between, by submitting an abstract to present at the APNA 28th Annual Conference, October 22-25 in Indianapolis. The Call for Abstracts will open next month, so keep an eye out for an email announcement!

If you haven’t yet checked out the podcasts that are available online from the conference in October, I encourage you to do so – maybe use those ten Thanksgiving bonus points that APNA gave us. Again, the variety of topics and perspectives offered are something to be celebrated and enjoyed – don’t miss out!

Have a safe and happy end to 2013!

Patricia D. Cunningham, DNSc, APRN, BC


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