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Summer Feels

Summer Feels
APNA President Lora Peppard

A cool breeze against your skin, the murmur of crickets in the evening, and the sweetness of perfectly ripe berries on your tongue – our senses signal for us that summer is here. As we embark on vacations, tend to our gardens, and catch up on our porch reading sessions, it’s an ideal time to be aware of the role our senses play in fostering connection with all that is around us, including those in our care.

We’ve explored engaging our senses as facilitators of greater connection with self, others, and spirit during our journey of developing an organized way of thinking about connection together. As psychiatric-mental health nurses, we use our senses to assess the mental health of an individual and pay attention to our tone, body language, and physical environment as we create safe and welcoming spaces for those we serve.

We also encourage positive sensory experiences, a valuable tool in our work. Empowering others to identify sensory experiences that promote healing and well-being in unique ways for them as individuals can provide significant sources of comfort and peace. For example, the APNA 38th Annual Conference session, Music as an Intervention: Both Nurses and Patients Benefit, will provide ideas on incorporating music into treatment as well as an opportunity to experience the positive outcomes firsthand!

Soon enough this beautiful summer will transition into fall where we will have an opportunity to “come home” to the annual conference and connect with each other again in meaningful ways. I want to personally invite you to the conference in Louisville on October 9-12 where:

    1. I will take you on a deep dive into the Connection Paradigm we have built together,
    2. Keynote Johann Hari will share his insights on connection as someone who has experienced depression, anxiety, and multiple forms of disconnectedness, and
    3. We will celebrate remarkable psychiatric-mental health nurses like our Board of Directors Student Scholars, our APNA Memorial Scholarship recipients, and those receiving APNA Annual Awards!

Perhaps the most cherished part of the annual conference is connecting with esteemed colleagues over several days of dynamic presentations. Our senses are sure to be invigorated as we see smiling faces, hear the roar of applause, and best of all, enjoy a few warm hugs! Be sure to save your spot.

Lora Peppard, PhD, DNP, PMHNP-BC
American Psychiatric Nurses Association

Published July 2024