Ask the Experts: Veteran Health | Psychiatric Pharmacogenomics


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!

How Veteran Identity and Veteran Core Values Impact the Veteran Health Experience

Lisa A. Brannack, FNP-BC, DNP, JD, MPH, MADR
Session 4017

Lisa Brannock

What is one key takeaway from your session?  Veterans want to share their story with their providers. Providers must understand that veterans are not just recounting a series of events. They are divulging previous information about their perceptions, viewpoints, insight, personality, and character. The veteran IS the story if you listen hard enough. 

What is one step providers can take to ensure that they are considering Veteran identity and Veteran culture in their practice?  Over and over, veterans have complained they just want to feel heard. Veterans consider listening to be the greatest clinical skill for a health provider. Empathy to the veteran is synonymous with respect. Respect is one of the two most important factors veterans consider when evaluating their health care experience, trust being the other. Veterans attribute those who listen with empathy as being the ‘most competent’. Most importantly, empathic listening facilitates a meaningful relationship between provider and veteran. If providers do not understand what drives the veteran health experience they will not understand that respect is one of five veteran core values.

Why did you choose to present on veteran health identity? I am uniquely positioned to discuss veteran culture, what drives veteran satisfaction, and the challenges in disseminating veteran culture to providers. Today I stand in the gap.This is arguably the single most important presentation on understanding veterans and veteran culture.


Elizabeth Pestka

Integrating Psychiatric Pharmacogenomics Into Clinical Nursing Practice

Elizabeth Pestka, MS, PMNCNS-BC, AGN-BC
Pre-Conference 1025

Why do psychiatric-mental health nurses need to implement pharmacogenomics testing in their practice? Psychiatric nurses need to be aware of pharmacogenomics testing for their practice, especially for patients who are treatment-resistant, as it provides another tool for more precisely tailoring care for each patient. The body of evidence is growing supporting this increasing affordable option to improve treatment adherence and outcomes as well as decrease healthcare costs. We chose to present this topic to highlight the benefits of including pharmacogenomics testing in clinical practice and to provide step by step instructions on how to initiate this process. We recognize that many nurses have a limited awareness of testing methods and resources and unclear information on the utility of test results.

What is one key takeaway you hope attendees take home from your session? Pharmacogenomics testing can be implemented in all settings and there are resources to support utilization of the results. For example, we will share the results of the use of pharmacogenomics testing in a community setting with persons with chronic mental illnesses and the positive outcomes associated with this quality improvement initiative.

How will using pharmacogenomics testing impact patients? The use of pharmacogenomics testing impacts patients by providing information about how their genes metabolize various medications. A drug that may work for one person may not be effective for another and can lead to toxic side effects.


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