June 2020 President’s Message
Tuesday June 2, 2020
The tragic events of the past week painfully demonstrate the longstanding inequities deeply embedded into our communities and lives. From injustices experienced by colleagues, friends, and family, to disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, racism continues to profoundly impact the health and wellness of individuals and communities across the nation.
Your psychiatric-mental health nursing community mourns with you and calls for meaningful change. APNA condemns racism and discrimination, understanding that it occurs at all levels, can be overt or covert, and can be intentional or unintentional. We stand with fellow psychiatric-mental health nurses who have experienced the devastating effects of racism and discrimination, as well as those to whom we provide care.
At the core of nursing lies respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and uniqueness of every single individual. As stated in our scope and standards we PMH nurses have a “central role in advocating for environments where the human rights, values, customs, and spiritual beliefs of individuals, families, and communities are respected.”
As an individual psychiatric-mental health nurse, your role includes using cultural humility to provide care to your patients impacted by these ongoing tragedies. It also includes speaking up to enact change and address injustice. Your ability to understand your own biases, meet individuals where they are in the context of their lives, and understand the complex relationship between systems and individuals’ lives is an amazing asset to help promote healing and reduce disparities across our communities.
There is much work to be done by all of us. To help you in these efforts, here are the beginnings of a collection of resources that examine the complex ways that racism and discrimination impact you as a provider, impact the patients you serve, and impact our communities and nation. Please join us by sending additional suggestions for information, tools, and resources that can be included in this section on our website. The intent is to offer culturally sensitive tools and skills to help you provide effective interventions and engage in crucial conversations that are mindful of the existence and impact of racism and racial inequality.
The APNA Board of Directors continues to thoughtfully consider how APNA can support you and those you serve in a meaningful and lasting way. We are with you and we join you in calling for change.
APNA President Sattaria (Tari) S. Dilks, DNP, APRN, PMHNP-BC, FAANP