A Message from the President
Patricia D. Cunningham, DNSc, APRN, BC
April 2014

Dear Friends,

Spring brings feelings of renewal and energy, following the long winter of hibernation and conservation. APNA is like a busy beehive abuzz with numerous activities underway. From the upcoming Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute to elections to the Board of Directors Student Scholarship, you’ll find tons of updates on these APNA activities in this issue of APNA News!

Bees, since we’re on the topic, are masters at constructing little hexagonal cells, tiny architects building walls and barriers within their hives. What we as psychiatric-mental health nurses build is something quite different: we build connections. We break down the walls that confine physical health care and mental health care to separate cells and unite the two. We have an understanding of patients’ physiological needs and their psychosocial needs. Pair that with our skills in interpersonal communication, and we present a powerful force for change when it comes to integrating primary care and mental health care.

If you have not watched our Institute for Mental Health Advocacy’s Policy Forum conversation with integrated care expert and psychiatric-mental health nurse Sharon Katz, I highly recommend that you do so! Katz provides information on the possibilities presented to psychiatric-mental health nurses as the integration of mental health care takes hold. You can find the video here.  The upcoming Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute in June will offer content on integration as it relates to prescribing and psychopharmacology, and the Annual Conference program (information coming next month!) promises to provide strategies for articulating the impact of psychiatric-mental health nurses to patients, families, colleagues, and communities.  We also have a robust section of the APNA Resource Center dedicated to integrated care, with information on current best practices, tools for implementing specific models of integrated care, current research on the subject, and more (www.apna.org/IntegratedCare).

I also wanted to remind you that the deadline for the APNA Board of Directors Student Scholarship is in just a few weeks (Monday, May 12). This scholarship is an important way that we can build connections in another direction – with motivated and bright nursing students who are interested in pursuing psychiatric-mental health nursing. The scholarship is awarded to up to 10 undergraduate and 10 graduate nursing students, and includes registration, travel and lodging to the APNA 28th Annual Conference in Indianapolis this October. Past recipients of the scholarship have told us that the experience solidified their passion for psychiatric-mental health nursing and helped them make invaluable connections with professionals already in the field. Please encourage any students you know to apply – it’s an opportunity not to be missed!

Finally, I’m thrilled to let you know that the Board of Directors has just approved updated versions of our position paper and standards of practice on the use of seclusion and restraint. Under the leadership of Diane Allen, MN, RN-BC, NEA-BC, an Institute for Safe Environments workgroup did excellent work in updating the documents to ensure that they reflect current best practices. These documents will be released soon, along with a continuing education session on the use of seclusion and restraint (free for APNA members!). They will be valuable resources as we connect to provide care in a way that avoids trauma and maintains personal autonomy as safely as possible.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you in a couple of months at CPI, when summer will have arrived with its long days and warm nights. In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful, flowering spring!

Patricia D. Cunningham, DNSc, APRN, BC

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