III. APNA Transitions in Practice Program

As the primary resource for psychiatric-mental health nursing information and education, APNA recognizes that it is essential to provide clinicians both within the psychiatric-mental health field as well as those who practice in other health care settings with the educational framework to provide care to people with mental health disorders.  The development of a psychiatric-mental health certificate will allow all nurses to provide evidence based, safe, cost-effective, consumer focused care to people with psychiatric-mental health disorders across the lifespan.

The APNA Transition to Practice (ATP) Certificate is a previously approved concept that will be offered as an extension of our current eLearning product.  The certificate will:

  • Provide foundational evidence based psychiatric-mental health education to all RNs.
  • Provide educational support for nurses as they transition from the classroom to clinical practice.
  • Provide RNs with a resource for reliable evidence based, best practices, PMH continuing education.
  • Provide RNs with PMH content to meet the continuing education requirement for ANCC certification
  • Highlight the importance of the mental health care provided by RNs in a way that is highly visible to institutions, consumers, other nursing / healthcare professionals, and the general public.
  • Pay tribute to RN psychiatric mental health nursing practice.
  • Reflect APNA’s high regard for, and commitment to APNA’s RN membership.

ATP = APNA Transitions in Practice

This addresses concerns of those who felt that ‘transition to practice’ applied primarily to new RNs.  ‘Transitions in practice’ includes those that are returning to practice, making career changes, and those entering practice. 

Staff Advisory Committee

The Staff Advisory Committee includes member administrators from across the country that have insight into the needs of RNs as they enter the field of PMH nursing.  This staff advisory committee will provide review and oversight of our plans as we move forward.

  • Joanne Bartlett
  • Avni Cirpili
  • Michael Fitzgerald
  • Celeste Johnson
  • Amy Rushton

Topic identification through a process that includes

  • A review of pertinent documents: APNA Scope and Standards, PMH-RN Essentials, ANCC PMH-RN content outline for certification, and Healthy People 2020.
  • The results of a survey sent to leaders in PMH nursing administration and education.
  • Focused conversations with leaders in PMH nursing administration.


Status Report January 2014

We are making steady progress in the ATP Certificate program.  The highlights are as follows:

  • Speakers have been identified and have confirmed their desire to participate
  • Speakers are currently developing content / slides
  • Content will be recorded live on 6/18/2014 (linked to CPI)
  • All presenters will submit a recorded PowerPoint presentation prior to the live recording in June.  This will allow for more flexibility since we will have content available in two formats.  We are in the process of making arrangements for speaker transportation and lodging.
  • Those presenters who cannot attend in person will submit a recorded PowerPoint presentation for the certificate

The speakers are listed below:

Carole Farley-Toombs
Introduction to program, therapeutic engagement to promote safety, health, resiliency
Therapeutic Environment
Nancy Dillon
Boundaries in PMH nursing
Kris Lambert
Diane Esposito
Trauma and Recovery
Eric Arauz
Consumer / Expert perspective
Diane Allen
Joanne Bartlett
Escalation / De-escalation
Cultural Humility
Cheryl  Puntil / Pam Marcus
Risk Assessment
Josh Hamilton
Julie Carbray
Mood and Anxiety Disorders
Joyce Shea
Psychotic Disorders
Matt Tierney
Chemical Addictions
Linda Stanley
PTSD and Trauma Informed Care
Comorbid Illness
Gail Stern
Cardiac, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, etc


Status Report June 2014

We continue to make progress in the development of the ATP Certificate program.

  • We made two changes in the list of presenters.
    • Josh Hamilton was replaced with Kim Hutchinson
    • Dawn Cogliser was invited to present the material on cultural humility
  • Three speakers will present content from a clinical/provider perspective, as well as a consumer perspective.  We feel that this will strengthen the overall program.
  • We have received recorded PowerPoints from nearly all of the presenters – only two have not been completed as of June 4th, and it is anticipated that those will be received within the next couple of days
  • Speakers are in the final stages of preparation for the ATP live conference on June 19th at the Reston Sheraton.
  • While finishing the planning and production of the live ATP program we are in the process of planning for the editing, production, and piloting of the ATP Certificate program.


Status Report October 2014

Steady forward momentum continues…. The program is nearing completion with plans to pilot in November.

  • The ATP Conference in June 2014 was well received and review of attendee evaluation / and on site comments confirmed that this program is needed in PMH nursing
  • The live recordings have been edited and packaged as a cohesive program including an introduction and 5 modules of related content
  • APNA member Expert Reviewers have found the ATP modules to:
    • Be relevant for the targeted audience
    • Be strengthened by speakers who are providers and also consumers of PMH care
    • Cover information from across the lifespan
    • Include, best practices, evidence based information
  • Final edits of audio and rebuild slides are being sent for the last round of edits
  • Syllabus is being finalized
  • Sites are being identified to pilot the program in November
  • Web platform for program delivery is being developed

Program Modules

Introduction:  Carole Farley Toombs:  Promoting Safety, Health and Resiliency Through the Therapeutic Use of Self, Presence and Engagement (40 minutes)

Module 1: Therapeutic Environment (3 hours 10 minutes)

  1. Diane Allen – Key Elements of a Safe Environment
  2. Nancy Dillon – Risky Business:  Walking the Boundaries Tightrope
  3. Joanne Bartlett – Therapeutic Engagement in De-Escalation

Module 2: Recovery (3 hours 5 minutes)

  1. Kris Lambert – Recovery
  2. Diane Esposito – Trauma and Recovery
  3. Linda Stanley – PTSD and Trauma Informed Care (provider as well as consumer)
  4. Dawn Cogliser – Cultural Humility ( provider as well as consumer)

Module 3:  Risk Assessment (1 hour 51 minutes)

  1. Pam Marcus and Cheryl Puntil -  Mental Status, Suicide Assessment, and Violence Assessment

Module 4: PMH Disorders (4 hours 15 minutes)

  1. Julie Carbray – Mood and Anxiety Disorders
  2. Joyce Shea – Psychotic Disorders  and Schizophrenia
  3. Matt Tierney -  Substance-Related Disorders
  4. Gail Stern – Medical Co-morbid Illness in Psychiatric Patients

Module 5: Psychopharmacology (1 hour presentation, 1 hour case studies)

  1. Kim Hutchinson – psychopharmacology and related case studies
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