2020 APNA Award for Excellence in Practice – APRN
Dr. Michelle Giddings, DNP, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC
After spending time as a family nurse practitioner and as an administrator at an acute mental health hospital, Dr. Michelle Giddings, DNP, PMHNP-BC, FNP-BC found her mission. “I saw first-hand how the lack of funding and advocacy for mental health impacted the community,” she says. “I felt determined to make a difference, so I went on to specialize in psychiatric-mental health nursing and use my knowledge to advocate for changes in the accessibility and delivery of mental health care.” As a fierce advocate for both her patients and her profession, Michelle, the recipient of the APNA Award for Excellence in Practice – APRN, builds a better future for psychiatric-mental health nursing practice and patients alike.
At a Glance
Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Passion: Advocacy and Patient Simulation
Words of Wisdom for Nurses: “Become an active member of your professional nursing association.”
Favorite Self Care Tip: “Make yourself a priority.”
Michelle has a reputation for providing compassionate, holistic care and promoting mental health care, as her colleague Ugoezi Agu details. “Dr. Giddings is well known in the Las Vegas community for providing education about mental health awareness and treatments to families, communities, organizations, and professional colleagues,” Agu says. The Mayor of the City of Las Vegas even honored Michelle with a Proclamation in recognition of her work and declared June 19, 2019 “Dr. Michelle Giddings Day.”
Michelle currently works with children and adults in her private practice, Peaceful Mind Psychiatric Services. “To me, there is nothing more rewarding than building therapeutic relationships with clients and witnessing their progress and recovery,” she says. “I take pride in empowering my clients with knowledge about their diagnosis, motivating them, and instilling hope during times of despair or uncertainty.” Before opening her private practice, Michelle worked at the University of Nevada Las Vegas as an Assistant Professor, MSN Coordinator, and Coordinator of Undergraduate Psychiatric Nursing. In this role, she pioneered Nevada’s first standardized patient simulation program in an undergraduate psychiatric-mental health nursing course. This simulation helps students “meet core mental health nursing competencies which can be applied to clients in various settings,” says Mary Reed, who nominated Michelle for this award.
“I stand ready with my psychiatric-mental health nurse colleagues to go above and beyond in bringing about meaningful change in our mental health system.”
To sustain her drive and impactful care, an important part of Michelle’s practice is self-care. “In our field, we are prone to occupational stress and must be as diligent about self-care as we are about our patient care,” she says. “Working in environments where you are overwhelmed will impact the care you provide to your clients and negatively impact your personal life. Get in the habit of performing routine self-assessments and make appropriate life changes to ensure physical and emotional well-being.”
Passionate about enacting change within the healthcare system, Michelle is a dedicated advocate for psychiatric-mental health nurses. In 2017, she testified before the Nevada Senate in support of the Signature Authority Bill (SB 227), which would remove barriers to APRN practice within the state. “Dr. Giddings worked diligently with other nurse leaders on [this bill], which was passed unanimously and signed into law,” says Reed. “Through her strong advocacy, knowledge, and leadership in PMH nursing practice, she helped to influence this legislative decision.” As a result, advanced practice psychiatric-mental health nurses are now empowered to practice to the full extent of their scope and perform Competency to Stand Trial (CST) evaluations within the legal system.
“These are unprecedented times where our social, economic, and healthcare systems are overextended. The mental health burden is growing and psychiatric-mental health nurses are at the forefront in caring for patients. I stand ready with my psychiatric-mental health nurse colleagues to go above and beyond in bringing about meaningful change in our mental health system,” says Michelle.