September 2018 President's Message
Be The Superhero You Are
Linda S. Beeber, PhD, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN
As fall begins and I prepare wrap up my term of president, I am getting more and more excited for the APNA Annual Conference this October. For me, the conference will represent a culmination of my year as president. Throughout this year I have communicated to you about how we can leverage our expertise and abilities to help change that fact that Americans whose mental health is threatened or who are living with substance use or mental illness symptoms do not have access to the same level of health care as people with other conditions. In my keynote at the conference, I hope to inspire and move you to take action and help generate change. We are powerful agents of change who use our skills to offer hope and a path to a fulfilling life. I believe that that makes us superheroes. And if there is one thing I want to leave with you this year, it’s this: BE THE SUPERHERO YOU ARE.
In this most recent column in JAPNA, I explored the power levers you have at your fingertips to create change for the good of our society. And because this is my last president’s message, I want to show you how collectively we are using APNA’s power levers to create change through our association of professionals. Drawn from our strategic plan, which is created by the Board of Directors as a ‘roadmap’ for our organization, these are the focus areas through which APNA is advancing our mission:
…to promote psychiatric-mental health nurses, improve mental health care for culturally diverse individuals, families, groups, and communities, and shape health policy for the delivery of mental health services.
Here are some of the ‘power levers’ APNA uses to leverage our collective superhero powers:
You are the first and most important power lever APNA has. That’s why providing you with continuing education, access to your PMH nursing community, and face-to-face interaction is a priority. When you are armed with the most current continuing education, supported by your community, and growing your leadership skills through chapters and councils, we are all stronger.
APNA cultivates relationships with organizations who can help advance our mission. This includes nursing organizations, mental health organizations, and more. For example, APNA’s relationship with the Providers Clinical Support System for Medication Assisted Treatment resulted in the 24 hours of free continuing education on Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders, which in turn helped expand access to treatment by providing nurses with the CE needed to obtain a DEA waiver to prescribe medication assisted treatment.
You may not be aware, but behind the scenes APNA is ensuring that psychiatric-mental health nurses are at the table and sharing their expertise to inform important decisions in initiatives. From my involvement with the federal government’s Inter-departmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee to member Lora Peppard’s recent appointment to National Quality Forum’s Serious Mental Illness Action Team, APNA members are sharing their expert voices with stakeholders and insisting on better care for our patients.
Again, this is an ongoing effort of APNA involvement in groups that help shape policy by informing lawmakers. Further, this past February APNA hosted its very first Health Policy Summit, which brought together experts in workforce from all areas of PMH nursing to address current needs and strategies for the future. Workforce is crucial to the future of our profession and it is crucial to ensuring the patients in need receive care. The papers from this summit which will be published soon in JAPNA will serve as a foundation for our work to educate about the need for and benefit of PMH nurses across communities.
I look forward to seeing you this October 24-27 in Columbus Ohio for the APNA Annual Conference. Don’t forget to bring your superhero cape! I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president over this past year. It has been an honor to support such an amazing group of colleagues.