APNA 32nd Annual Conference: Ask the Experts


This year, hundreds of psychiatric-mental health nursing subject matter experts will converge in Columbus, Ohio at the APNA 32nd Annual Conference. From October 24-27, these experts share their knowledge with attendees to help them feel confident in their role as agent of change. We spoke to the presenters of two sessions, so read on for a sneak peek at the conference program. Remember to register by September 10th to save with Early Bird rates!

Session 2044a: Addressing Disturbing Trends in Pediatric Suicide: Collaborative EBP Project Utilizing a Suicide Risk Assessment in the Emergency Department

Melody Hackfeld, BSN, RNC

Melody Hackfeld  

Who led the implementation of this intervention and education? Our nursing leadership team identified a concerning increase in the number of children being admitted to medical floors post a suicide attempt.  A collaborative effort began with one Emergency Room nurse and one Psychiatry Department nurse, to identify an evidenced based suicide screening tool for all children ages 10 and over. Once the tool was identified, the Psychiatric nurse along with the Psychiatry educator and ED educator, created a video presentation and Computer Based training demonstrating use of the evidence-based suicide screening tool. The ED educator and management team assured that all emergency room nurses completed the education.

How did you get staff buy in? Initially, a great deal of support was needed by the emergency room management team. The team began receiving  reports on the number of patients answering positive to the suicide screening tool, and this increased staff buy in tremendously. 

How did this change impact patients? In the first three months of rolling out the use of the suicide screening tool for all patients ages 10 and over, 391 patients identified positive. This was for children admitted with physical illness or injury, and not a behavioral health reason. Resources were provided at that time. We have to ask (ASQ) children about sadness, worry, and suicidal thoughts. If we do not ask (ASQ), it may be too late. 


Session 3016a: Educator Challenges to Facilitate Nurse Practitioner Student Clinical Placement
Kathleen McDermott Christine Costa

Kathleen McDermott, DNP, RN, MSN, PMHNP BC and Christine Costa , DNP, RN, PMHNP-BC

Why are quality clinical placements important? The importance of quality clinical placement opportunities cannot be overstated as it prepares nurses to become competent nurse practitioners. Increased student enrollment and organizational requirements have resulted in a reduction in the availability and quality of clinical placements for graduate nursing students. The challenges for educators to locate and retain good clinical placement sites and preceptors are significant.  Our hope is to offer ideas for improving retention of quality sites and preceptors, decrease the barriers associated with this process, and provide support for other educators with similar challenges.

What are a few key considerations for student clinical placement sites? Educators play a key role in helping students set preliminary goals and objectives for the clinical placement period based on learning key concepts and skills.  Ideally, standardizing expectations and processes for both the student and preceptor, paired with comprehensive summative evaluation of student, preceptor and site offer the best opportunity to retain quality clinical placement sites and preceptors and to continually improve the experience for both student and preceptor.

What is one lesson learned from your session? Overall, our experience has shown that implementing organized graduate faculty-led clinical placement discussions prior to the start of clinical placement are beneficial for student, preceptor, and educator. We have found that engaging in thorough discussion with students has been key in standardizing processes and expectations for students, improving clinical learning outcomes, and retaining quality clinical placement sites and preceptors. The benefit noted with this intentional change has been significant, indicating both the feasibility and importance of implementing this change.  

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