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Mental Health Advocacy, Awareness and News
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March, 2015

Members' Corner
APNA Member Info

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Featured Session: Tobacco Dependence Council Interactive Panel: Virtual Nursing Academy of APNA Champions for Smoking Cessation

Hot Topic on Member Bridge:
Mental Health EHR Software Systems

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President's Message
Recently, I’ve been invited to represent psychiatric nurses on an Entertainment Industries Council / SAMHSA Webcast concerning substance use disorders, mental health and primary care depictions in the media (March 26, 2015). Through a panel discussion with a mental health nurse, a dentist unknowingly pulled into prescribing opiate pain medication, and a person in recovery, we will highlight the importance and potential for integrated health care models to screen and offer early interventions for both substance use and mental health disorders. (Cont'd)

In Your Own Words: Psych Nurses' Stories
This month a member shares how her experience with one man reinforced an important concept: I was a corrections nurse in a local jail. I found that many people in the jail had psychiatric conditions - from the trespassing charge all the way to murder. Some homeless people with psychiatric illnesses had nowhere else to go and would actually commit minor crimes to be caught and brought to jail. There, they understood the system and could get a roof over their heads and care for their psychiatric and medical needs. One of these people I will call "Victor". (Cont'd)

Member News
Kathleen Delaney to serve on 2015-2016 CMS Expert Panel; Jan Lockert quoted in Delphos Herald article; Cathy Phillips featured in NBC Nebraska article; Op-Ed by Larry Plant posted by the Portland Press Herald; R. John Repique featured in the January/February 2015 issue of The American Nurse; Mona Shattell featured in Chicago WGN's article; Gail Stuart appointed to SAMSHA Advisory Council; Virginia Conley, Katherine Darling, Susanne Fogger, Rene Love, Mark Soucy inducted to Fellows American Academy of Nurse Practitioners; OpEd by Mona Shattell, Linda Beeber, and Madeline Naegle posted on HuffPost Blog. (Learn More)

Educational, Rewarding, Inspirational, and Exciting! A Board of Directors Scholar's Experience
by Valeria Dworkowitz, BS, RN, DNP(c)
I am fortunate and very grateful to have been awarded an APNA Board of Directors Scholarship to the APNA 28th Annual Conference in 2014. This was my first experience attending a conference of this magnitude; it was extremely educational, rewarding, inspirational, and exciting! (Cont'd)

CPI: The psychopharmacology conference planned for nurses, by nurses.
Join us June 11-14 in Baltimore, Maryland for the APNA 13th Annual Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute! This year’s program is packed with cutting edge updates, research, and trends in clinical psychopharmacology, opportunities to network with your PMH nurse colleagues, and the chance to earn up to 23.5 contact hours*. Don’t miss Friday and Saturday afternoon’s keynotes by two NIH rock stars: Dr. Eric D. Green, Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and Dr. Francis J. McMahon, Chief of both the Human Genetics Branch and of the Genetic Basis of Mood and Anxiety Disorders Section of the National Institute of Mental Health Intramural Research Program. (Cont'd)
*The content of this CNE activity pertains to pharmacology. Because states' requirements may vary, contact your Board of Nursing for more information.

First Suicide Competencies for Psychiatric-Mental Health Registered Nurses Will Help Address Public Health Crisis
Over the past two years, a workgroup of APNA members have worked to adapt national competencies on assessing and managing suicide risk into a set of nine competencies specifically for psychiatric-mental health nurses in inpatient settings. These competencies have just been released, along with an APNA position paper which calls upon “healthcare facilities and academic settings to adopt these nursing competencies in order to increase patient and nurse safety, and to enhance nurses’ confidence and competence in caring for patients at risk for suicide, ultimately increasing patient outcomes.” View the competencies online here and read the press release here.

Opportunities to Get Involved!

  • Annual Awards: Recognize a colleague with a nomination for one of the 2015 APNA Annual Awards. (Deadline: Monday, 4/20/15)
  • 2015 Elections: Submit a nomination for the APNA Board of Directors & Nominating Committee. (Deadline: Friday, 4/24/15)
  • Board of Directors Scholarship: Apply to receive a scholarship to attend the APNA Annual Conference and receive 1-year membership in APNA. (Deadline: 5/11/15)
  • More Opportunities: Check out this page for even more ways to connect with colleagues and make a difference in psychiatric-mental health nursing.
Resource Roundup
  • Grants & Scholarships: University of St. Francis Leach College of Nursing $10,000 stipend; NHSC Scholarship Program Open; Ann M. Wilkinson Nurse Psychotherapist Award
  • APNA Advocacy: Nursing Community Letters to Senators Moran, Tester and Thune; Letter to House and Senate LHHS-ED Appropriations Subcommittee on FY 2016; Thank you to Marilyn Tavenner for serving as Administrator of CMS; Letter to Senators Collins and Schumer; Mental Health Liaison Group letters to Congress and President

New Members: 422 New Members since January!

Issues & Events

Adding an electroencephalography (EEG)-based biomarker to standard clinician judgement may improve the accuracy of the diagnosis of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and reduce the likelihood of overdiagnosis, new research suggests. The Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System uses electroencephalography to measure beta and theta waves. Previous studies have shown that the theta/beta ratio is increased in children and adolescents with ADHD, reported MedScape. Full Story

Antipsychotic drugs may increase the risk of premature death in dementia patients more than thought, a new study suggests. The medications are widely used to treat the delusions, hallucinations, agitation and aggression that occur in many people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that antipsychotic drugs have a significant risk of side effects, the study authors pointed out. For the new study, researchers examined data from nearly 91,000 U.S. veterans who were older than 65 and had dementia. Those who took antipsychotics were more likely to die early, the study found. Among those taking newer, more commonly used antipsychotics, the risk of premature death increased with the dose, reported HealthDay.com. Full Story

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is working closely with all industry stakeholders to provide support in transitioning to ICD-10 on Oct. 1, 2015 and has issued a Fact Sheet about the transition. Click here for more information.

Together, leading funders of research in the U.S., Canada and U.K. are advancing a global funding initiative aimed at better understanding the similarities and differences between progressive brain-deteriorating diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, with an expanded partnership and increased funding. The new funding cycle will offer nearly $2 million for projects investigating the overlap in the biology and clinical symptoms of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and other brain-deteriorating diseases, which together affect tens of millions of people worldwide. Full Story

ANA’s Nursing Scope and Standards Revision Workgroup invites review and public comment on the draft Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, Third Edition. Comments and recommendations are due by 5 p.m. ET April 6. Click here to access the document and submit comments.

The Joint Commission’s Nursing Care Center Accreditation Program announced that Chaparral House, a nonprofit skilled nursing facility in Berkeley, CA, is the first skilled nursing facility in the US to be awarded the organization’s Memory Care Certification. The Joint Commission began offering Memory Care Certification in July 2014 to recognize nursing homes that provide memory care services for patients and residents with dementia and other cognitive impairments. Full Story

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for Targeted Capacity Expansion: Medication Assisted Treatment-Prescription Drug Opioid Addiction (MAT-PDOA) grants totaling up to $33 million over three years. This program aims to provide funding to states to enhance/expand their treatment service systems to increase capacity and provide accessible, effective, comprehensive, coordinated care, and evidence-based medication assisted treatment (MAT) and recovery support services to individuals with opioid use disorders seeking or receiving MAT. Full Story

The call for abstracts for Australian College of Mental Health Nursing's 41st International Mental Health Nursing Conference, Mental health nurses: shifting culture, leading change, is now open. This Conference challenges speakers and delegates to get involved in the future of the profession; to consider and discuss how the profession can be moved forward, how nurses in the mental health sphere can move from the ‘bedside to the boardroom’. Click here for more information.


The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) has voiced its support for the U.S. Supreme Court decision in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners vs. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in which the justices affirmed that state regulatory boards are not exempt from federal antitrust laws. On Wednesday, February 25, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a North Carolina dental regulatory board, made up mostly of dentists, does not have the authority to tell dental hygienists to stop offering teeth whitening services. The justices affirmed the FTC's previous stance that the dental board's actions constituted an illegal suppression of competition. According to AANP, the ruling helps ensure state regulatory boards protect the best interests of patients by limiting unnecessary, anticompetitive restrictions that impede access to care, increase costs and exacerbate delays. The group says the decision will also improve transparency surrounding health care regulatory processes, and encourage states to provide oversight to regulatory boards across the health care sector. Full Story

The American Nurses Association (ANA) applauds Representatives Sam Graves (R-MO) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) for their leadership in introducing the “Improving Veterans Access to Care Act of 2015.”   The bill, H.R. 1247, allows Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) who work in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) facilities ‘full practice authority.’  Full practice authority means allowing APRNs to practice to the full extent of their education and training and provides a common-sense solution to the challenges associated with ensuring America’s veterans have access to high quality health care services. Full Story

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a bill that will give the advanced practice nurses their independence from doctors, reported StarHerald.com. Legislative Bill 107, introduced by State Sen. Sue Crawford of Bellevue, eliminates the current requirement for nurse practitioners to have a practice agreement with a doctor. Full Story

Pennsylvania State Representative Jesse Topper has introduced a bill that would allow certified nurse practitioners to treat patients  without having a business contract with two doctors, reported CentralPA.com. Full Story


NAPHS has published a new report, Addiction Treatment Today and Tomorrow: Implications and Policy Recommendations, to define the substance use disorder population and to appraise existing policies regarding the coverage, funding, and delivery of addiction treatment. Findings are based on a focused review of the relevant literature, as well as information gleaned from a series of informant interviews with clinical, policy, and other substance use experts. Full Story

Nationally, between 60% to 70% of kids in the juvenile justice system have a mental health disorder and roughly 90% have experienced at least one traumatic event, reported the The Las Cruces Sun-News. Experts from organizations such as the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators report that state facilities are now better equipped to work with the mental health population, but also caution that serious gaps remain. Front-line workers in many facilities are not trained to understand or respond appropriately, and there are still widespread reports of violence and maltreatment, which likely exacerbates underlying mental conditions. It is generally agreed that providing education to the staff, along with sound suicide prevention and less use of solitary confinement are solid markers to provide safe and appropriate treatment. Full Story

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is Accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the
American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

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