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This past October, nursing representatives from McLean Hospital traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, for the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 31st Annual Conference. The APNA annual conferences are the largest gatherings of psychiatric mental health (PMH) nurses in the United States and are regarded as the premier event for psychiatric nursing.
This year’s event did not disappoint. The conference theme, “Whole Health Begins with Mental Health,” focused on opportunities for PMH nurses to infuse mental health recovery and wellness into their practice and showcased innovative best practices to improve the mental health of the population. This theme resonated with the McLean nurses in attendance, with many presenting their work targeted at improving the care and lives of individuals receiving mental health services.
Linda M. Flaherty, RN/PCNS, vice president for Patient Care Services, showcased McLean’s Interdisciplinary Recovery to Practice Committee (IROP) with her poster describing the committee’s development of a Recovery to Practice toolkit, designed to translate recovery principles into practice and treatment settings. Kelly A. Carlson, PhD, PMHNP-BC, and Maria T. Olivier, MSN, RN, presented their poster, “Trauma-Informed Care: Philosophy, Culture, and Experience,” which is based on a program incorporated in the IROP toolkit. Olivier described the presentation as “a universal approach to both patients and staff that recognizes that our current interactions have the opportunity to promote recovery through trauma-informed care.”
A collaborative nursing study was presented by McLean’s Nicole Visaggio, RN, and Fairfield University’s Kathryn E. Phillips, PhD, APRN, NP-BC, along with representatives from Butler Hospital and the Institute of Living. This retrospective chart review examined cases of seclusion and restraint at the three institutions to contribute to the overall goal of improving safety while identifying the unique needs of psychiatric patients in intensive treatment.
McLean’s Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics Program nurses presented their work in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Teresa Henderson, BSN, RN, and Paula Bolton, MS, APRN-BC, shared the success of McLean’s ECT support groups, which are designed to instill hope and empower members in their recovery process. In addition, Bolton co-presented a talk with Donna Ecklesdafer, MSN, RN, from Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services. Their lecture focused on the different mechanisms of action of brain stimulation therapies, including ECT, as well as the new research findings on ECT and the vital role of the PMH nurse. Cecilia Rush, BSN, RN, and Dawn Miller, BSN, RN, presented their poster, “TMS and the Challenges for Nursing,” which described the instrumental role nurses play in the caring for patients being treated with TMS.
In addition to presenting at the conference, McLean has an enduring connection with the APNA that includes a proud history of active participation in the organization’s operations through involvement in its councils, committees, and task forces. This year, McLean had two attendees who are serving in leadership roles with the APNA. Kristen Kichefski, MSN, MBA, RN-BC, was in attendance as immediate-past president of the APNA New England Chapter, representing the region at chapter meetings and networking events in addition to presenting her work in staff engagement on an intensive treatment unit. Christine Tebaldi, RN, MS, PMHNP-BC, was in attendance, serving in her role as member-at-large and chapter liaison on the APNA Board of Directors. In addition to her duties as a board member, she served as the conference ambassador to the president of the Emergency Nurses Association. On the final day of the conference, Tebaldi was joined by fellow board members as they presented an Ignite session focused on the conference theme and how it relates to psychiatric mental health nursing practice, administration, education, and research.