Skip to Main Content

We are experts in connection – let’s build a way of thinking about it together!

We are experts in connection – let’s build a way of thinking about it together!
APNA President Lora Peppard

November 2023

As psychiatric-mental health nurses, we infuse our humanity into the care we provide through connection. We forge connections to build a foundation of trust, rapport, and safety that supports healing. We also understand the importance of connecting spiritually, with our environments, and with ourselves through self-care to enable us to bring our best selves forward in every opportunity to connect with those we serve, including individuals with mental health symptoms, students, colleagues, families, employees, or even our fellow members of APNA. In short, we are experts at connection!

As I step into my presidency, I invite you to build a way of thinking about connection with me. Let’s present and organize our thoughts around the various dimensions of connection and synthesize these thoughts to be made available to existing and future nurses.

How will we synthesize so many thoughts in a usable way? Over the next few months together, we’ll delve into what connection truly means for us and how it comes to life in our work as practitioners, educators, researchers, and administrators. Your input and ideas will form the foundation for a Connection Paradigm, which will coalesce our shared understandings unique to our profession, perhaps including some of the dimensions pictured here.

How can you participate and share your thoughts? Well, you can begin by answering a very important question: “What does connection mean to you?” Visit: to access an open comment box for this question and help you assess your ‘connection baseline,’ both critical first steps towards structuring our Connection Paradigm.

I will be participating right alongside you. Through the process of building this paradigm together, we will embrace what lies at the heart of what we do, capture our expertise for the benefits of ourselves and others, and strive towards reaching our full potential as psychiatric-mental health nurses.

Let’s cultivate connection together. It is needed now more than ever, and we as psychiatric-mental health nurses have so much to offer. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts. My promises to you are: 1) I will join you in the journey 2) I will review every piece of input, 3) I will share the outcome with all of you at the APNA 38th Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 9-12, 2024, and 4) I will provide you with a tool that translates the Connection Paradigm into something we can use in our many roles as psychiatric-mental health nurses.

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