Q&A with Judy Davidson on Nurse Suicide
Judy E. Davidson, DNP, RN, MCCM, FAAN is a Nurse Scientist at UC San Diego Health/Research Scientist School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry. Her research focuses on workplace wellness, mental health, and suicide and suicide prevention amongst healthcare professionals. On Friday, June 9, she’ll present her keynote, The Shocking Truth & Regulatory Implications of Job-Related Problems Associated with Suicide Among Healthcare Professionals, at the APNA Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute.
Why is this information a must-know for psychiatric-mental health nurse prescribers?
“Nurses are now known to be a vulnerable population. We have unique factors associated with death by suicide that are different than those of non-nurses. There are over 4 million nurses in the United States. This is a group of people with risks that are amenable to intervention. Sadly, the risks are associated with the work we do and how we treat nurses with mental health disorders. Psychiatric-mental health nurses can help to mitigate these risks through advocacy for change.”
What can individual psychiatric-mental health nurses do to help break the silence around nurse suicide?
“Whenever speaking about mental health disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder, psychiatric-mental health nurses can include a section on the unique risks of nurses. Cite the data collected by the ANA during the pandemic outlining our risks. Cite the literature that we have published on nurse suicide – this article, for example. Encourage your executive team to implement the best practice strategies outlined by the American Hospital Association for suicide prevention among healthcare providers.”
This can be a painful topic. How do you ensure your own well-being?
“First of all, I engage in the yearly mental health screening provided by my employer. The screening is safe because it is encrypted and anonymous. If I have a mental health problem I can be referred into treatment while remaining anonymous, further increasing my safety and the likelihood that I will seek treatment. If your organization does not deploy a similar strategy, you can advocate for change. We will discuss how during my presentation [at the APNA Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute].”