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President’s Message: What Guides Us

President’s Message: What Guides Us
Zim Okoli APNA President

March 2023

Composed of a core ideology, core values, goals, and a long-term envisioned future, APNA’s Strategic Direction is what grounds the board’s decision-making process. The Strategic Direction ensures a clear path towards fulfilling 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.

As members, APNA is your association and you have entrusted your Board of Directors to steward the organization by electing us to serve. That’s why we look to you for input each time we review and update the Strategic Direction. This working document is reviewed every three years for good reason: it needs to steer the future of our profession, stay true to APNA’s mission and purpose, and be relevant to you, our members.

This year, a member survey and environmental scan with thought leaders informed our review and update of the APNA Strategic Direction. The diversity of perspectives shared through both avenues is a testament to the inclusive culture of our organization: PMH nurses from across the vibrant continuum of the profession find a home in APNA.

Overall, your input affirmed that what you most want from APNA are education, current information & resources, and networking. You also shared that it is important to you that APNA continue to enhance public awareness of the psychiatric-mental health nursing profession and those we serve. Thank you to those who took time to respond to the survey and those who participated in the strategic discussion – your perspectives are crucial to ensuring that APNA continues to serve as your resource for psychiatric-mental health nursing in an ever-changing world!

Here is a summary of your Board of Director’s review of each piece of the APNA Strategic Direction:

APNA Core Ideology: To be the unifying voice of psychiatric-mental health nursing.
We as a board determined that this core ideology continues to reflect the mission and vision of the organization.

APNA Core Values
During our review of the APNA core values, we considered the meaning of each core value and the order in which they were listed. Through rich discussion, we chose to reorder the values to:

  • Inclusivity
  • Integrity
  • Empowerment
  • Stewardship
  • Innovation
  • Transparency
  • Collaboration

We highlighted “Inclusivity, Integrity, and Empowerment” at the beginning of the list, as these values are fundamental to who we are as psychiatric-mental health nurses. We also replaced “Collegiality” with “Collaboration”, determining that collaboration is a more impactful representation of how APNA members work together to accomplish our mission, how APNA works with other organizations, and how psychiatric-mental health nurses work within healthcare.

APNA Strategic Direction Goals

Goal A. APNA will serve as the indispensable resource for member professional development, networking, and leadership.
We added “serve as” to emphasize servant leadership. Professional development is also now listed first to signify its importance to your needs and the organization’s focus, as indicated in the member survey.

Goal B. APNA will be the leader in creating and enhancing strategic alliances with diverse stakeholders to advance its mission.
We believe this goal powerfully captures APNA’s core value of collaboration and is still applicable, requiring no changes.

Goal C. APNA will be recognized as the expert voice for psychiatric-mental health nursing.
We noted the alignment between this goal and our core ideology, “to be the unifying voice of psychiatric-mental health nursing”. We determined that this goal required no updates.

Goal D. APNA will be at the forefront of integrating research, practice, and education to address mental health issues that affect psychiatric-mental health nurses and the population served.
We feel that this goal speaks to nurses and the individuals we serve, which in turn impacts the profession. That is why we replaced ‘nursing’ with ‘nurses’: in order to focus on the individual nurses we serve as an organization.

Emerging Trends
Additionally, the board identified four trends, or areas of need, based on your input. APNA will consider these areas as we move forward together in refining and developing APNA programs and services:

Workforce shortage and skills gaps impacting new PMH nurses; PMH nurse well-being; child & adolescent mental health; telemental health.

As I look at the Strategic Direction of our organization, I’m filled with optimism and energy. I know that the PMH nurses who are the lifeblood of APNA are equipped with the expertise, awareness, and determination required to embody our core ideology and values, further our strategic goals, and drive us towards our long-term envisioned future. By dispensing hope to our patients and each other, and by going where we are most needed, we each participate in this work.

I’m grateful to each of you for sharing your voices to inform this Strategic Direction update. It will continue to guide us in serving as a unifying voice for psychiatric-mental health nursing, helping us to fulfill our mission.

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