Jeannine S. Loucks, MSN, RN-BC PMH
2016 Award for Media
"I think I’ve always been the type of person who is very caring,” says Jeannine Loucks of her decision to become a psychiatric-mental health nurse. “When I started nursing school and started looking at the various specialties, I realized I wanted to help those who are marginalized or treated with less dignity.” Loucks has created a video series aimed at reducing stigma and better informing first responders of mental health concerns. For her groundbreaking work with this video series, Loucks is the recipient of the 2016 APNA Award for Media.
|At a Glance|
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Passion:
Community Outreach, Education
Words of Wisdom to Future Nurses:
“Try to make a difference by finding something that you are passionate about and stick with that.”
Loucks, who is the Department Manager of the Emergency Care Center ECDU at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, was first approached by her local police department to develop psychiatric-mental health training for the officers in 2010. She researched law enforcement policies and procedures to design a classroom curriculum for the officers. The overwhelming success of this program inspired Loucks to pursue a way to disseminate the program to a wider audience: video. “We were doing all this great education – why don’t we put it on video?” she says of her decision. “If law enforcement officers are spending half their day with those experiencing a psychiatric-mental health crisis, why wouldn’t we spend time teaching them how to make it a positive interaction instead of a negative one? First impressions matter, and if an individual with a mental illness feels safe in their first interactions with law enforcement, they are more likely to seek out care again.”
To translate the classroom curriculum to video, Loucks took the lead with the police department and the Mental Health Association of Orange County. Designed to be shown during shift change, each of these short videos explores a situation based on a real life interaction between law enforcement and a person with mental illness. The videos center on the TACT method of communication (Timing, Atmosphere, Communication, and Tone) to guide officers through interactions with those with mental illness. Topics covered include schizophrenia, hoarding, bipolar spectrum disorders, dementia, and autism. Loucks is also currently producing a video on veterans and PTSD. The videos are currently used to train all Orange Police Department first responders and have been presented at both regional and national mental health conferences. After the successful implementation of this program in California, other police departments have adopted it from as far away as New York.
“Jeannine has taken collaboration with first responders to an added height,” says Marlene Nadler-Moodie, who nominated Loucks for this award. “[She] has worked diligently to produce the short videos which capture the particular needs of both the clients they encounter and the officers who must communicate with them in the field.” Loucks feels that receiving this award affirms her efforts to support community safety and well-being. “It was the epitome of a career of reaching out and trying to make a difference,” she says. “My career has been spent trying to do what’s right for our consumers and our community.” Loucks had previously been named one of the Most Influential Individuals (Health) by the Orange County Register in 2014.
When faced with the challenge of training first responders in their interactions with a unique population, Loucks designed an innovative video program to reframe these potential interactions for them. Her hands-on approach to the realities of providing care is reflected in her advice to future psychiatric-mental health nurses. “Try to make a difference by finding something that you are passionate about and stick with that,” she says. Loucks’ passion for educating first responders to better address mental health concerns has resulted in education which is now being utilized across the country. Loucks’ accomplishments will be celebrated at the APNA 30th Annual Conference this fall in Hartford, Connecticut.