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Inclusion. Diversity. Equity. Access. De-Stigmatization

Inclusion. Diversity. Equity. Access. De-Stigmatization
Zim Okoli APNA President

November 2022 President’s Message

nclusion. Diversity. Equity. Access. De-Stigmatization

These five concepts at first seem like an ambitious – and possibly abstract – list of goals. However, when we notice that the common thread of essential humanity that is the foundation of our discipline also runs through each one, adopting them into practice is within our grasp. I’d like to spend this year exploring how these principles in our practice serve to support whole health and the impact of PMH nursing. My Presidential theme, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses: Novel IDEAS Moving Whole Health Forward, will guide the upcoming call for abstracts and the APNA 37th Annual Conference this October 4-7 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Florida.

As a start, let’s focus our attention with a group fill-in-the-blank exercise. I think we might be surprised with how regularly we incorporate these principles into our work. But by naming them and recognizing how they influence our actions it is my hope that we might become more intentional and expand our efforts in caring for our patients, their families, and communities. As you recite each pillar, complete the sentences that follow or compose your own based on your experience.

Inclusion: I help those we serve experience care that respects their autonomy, perspectives, and individuality when I….

Diversity: I identify and address cultural practices based on exclusion when I…

Equity: I provide ways for those who are disenfranchised to be heard and involved in decision making when I…

Access: I advocate for mental health care services that are available, affordable, and accessible when I…

Stigma: I conventionalize mental health, mental health seeking, and mental health disorder treatments when I…

I hope that through this exercise you affirmed the novel work you are doing to move whole health forward. Perhaps you also identified a practice or area of clinical expertise that could benefit your PMH nursing colleagues. So, make your plan to submit an abstract to be considered for presentation at next year’s conference! The call for abstracts will open in early January.

Integrating these IDEAS into research and scholarship, education, leadership, and practice strengthens our foundation to achieve our PMH nursing vision of inclusive, equitable, accessible, and affordable whole health for all.

Chizimuzo (Zim) Okoli, PhD, MPH, APRN, PMHNP-BC, NCTTP, FAAN
American Psychiatric Nurses Association