American Psychiatric Nurses Association Transitions in Practice Certificate Program to Improve Mental Health Care Through Continuing Nursing Education

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The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) releases the APNA Transitions in Practice Certificate Program, an online program which provides nurses with foundational knowledge and skills for providing safe and effective care to persons with psychiatric-mental health conditions.

APNA Transitions in Practice Certificate Program

APNA Transitions in Practice: Providing the tools to energize your nursing practice.

Through up-to-date knowledge and best practices training, the APNA Transitions in Practice Certificate Program will ensure the success of nurses new to psychiatric-mental health.

Nurses across all settings increasingly provide care to people with mental health disorders. At any given time, up to 57 million Americans may need mental health services (SAMHSA, 2013) and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is placing a heavier demand for service. Psychiatric-mental health RNs are one of the largest workforces who provide care to persons with mental health disorders. Providing this care requires the development of specialized skills and knowledge. Nurses receive education on mental health and substance use disorders, but increasingly are calling for added foundational knowledge to provide mental health services to a diverse population across the lifespan. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) created the APNA Transitions in Practice Program (ATP) to provide the most current best practices and practical knowledge to professionals entering into psychiatric-mental health practice. It offers clinicians both within psychiatric-mental health nursing as well as those in other health care settings the basic knowledge and skills needed to provide evidence based, safe, cost-effective, patient-centered care to persons with psychiatric-mental health disorders. The program promotes effective communication, which meets The Joint Commission safety standards, and uses a recovery-oriented approach in line with current recommendations from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

A relatively short, non-degree granting program, the APNA Transitions in Practice Certificate Program is particularly targeted to nurses as they transition from the classroom to clinical practice or from another area of nursing into psychiatric-mental health. The program is composed of online modules which cover the basics of caring for persons with mental health disorders: therapeutic engagement, psychiatric-mental health disorders, psychopharmacology, risk assessments, addictions, co-morbid disorders, recovery, and therapeutic environment. Initial outcomes from a pilot of the program show that 99% of participants felt that the program increases foundational knowledge, skills, and/or judgment in psychiatric-mental health; helps nurses provide safe and effective care to persons with psychiatric-mental health conditions; and provides nurses with knowledge to improve patient outcomes.

There is a documented need for best practices training to ensure consistent quality of care and reduce the turnover rates of new nurses (NCSBN, 2013). 25% of nurses leave their position within the first year, indicating inadequate preparation for the position for which they were hired. While this is often the case, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing reported that “health institutions with transition programs have seen a marked drop in attrition, along with improved patient outcomes” (NCSBN, 2013). The APNA Transitions in Practice Program offers a mechanism by which institutions can provide the education needed for their nurses to feel prepared and ready to perform the tasks required in their daily work.

“Through up-to-date knowledge and best practices training, the APNA Transitions in Practice Certificate Program will ensure the success of nurses new to psychiatric-mental health,” says APNA President Susie Adams, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC, PMHCNS-BC, FAANP. “It will ultimately improve the overall healthcare provided to persons with mental health disorders.”

The ATP Program is now available to individuals and institutions. Content is offered in an on-demand, self-paced format, with supplemental resources and activities provided. After completing each module and accompanying posttests, as well as an overall posttest, participants will receive a certificate of completion and 15 CNE contact hours (half the continuing education contact hours needed to sit for the RN certification exam). The program cost is $200 for APNA members and $250 for nonmembers. More information and registration can be found at elearning.apna.org/atp.

References:

National Council of State Boards of Nursing. (2013). Transition to Practice. Retrieved from: https://www.ncsbn.org/transition-to-practice.htm
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). The National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved from: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHresultsPDFWHTML2013/Web/NSDUHresults2013.pdf
Health Resources and Services Administration. The U.S. Nursing Workforce: Trends in Supply and Education (2013). Retrieved from: http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/supplydemand/nursing/nursingworkforce/

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Meaghan Trimyer
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