American Psychiatric Nurses Association and National Association of School Nurses Partnering to Enhance School Nurses’ Foundational Knowledge of Psychiatric-Mental Health

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The American Psychiatric Nurses Association and National Association of School Nurses today announced their partnership to provide a continuing nursing education certificate program in psychiatric-mental health to school nurses.

As nurses we well know that care is not provided in silos, and so we must work together to ensure that all populations receive the best possible holistic nursing care.

Thanks to a new agreement, members of the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) have access to the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s (APNA) Transitions in Practice Certificate Program (ATP). NASN members can purchase and complete the self-paced course, which offers 15 continuing nursing education contact hours, online. Through the program’s continuing education evaluation system, NASN members will provide valuable feedback to allow for continual updates to the ATP Program.

APNA developed the APNA Transitions in Practice Certificate Program (ATP) with the understanding that nurses everywhere 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). With regards to children specifically, 1 in 5 children currently or at some point have had a mental illness which was seriously debilitating (NIMH, n.d.).

In The Case for School Nursing (2012), NASN notes that providing mental health services composes approximately 32% of school nurses’ time. NASN has taken the position that, “Mental health is as critical to academic success as physical well-being,” and that school nurses provide a vital service in schools, “By promoting positive mental health outcomes in students through school/community evidence-based programs and curricula.” (NASN, 2013). ATP will offer school nurses evidence-based knowledge and skills needed to provide safe, cost-effective, patient-centered care to school children with psychiatric-mental health needs.

Of the more than 1,000 providers who have completed the APNA Transitions in Practice Certificate Program since its release in July of 2015, 99% indicated that it influenced them to change their practice. Its online modules cover therapeutic engagement, psychiatric-mental health disorders, psychopharmacology, risk assessments, addictions, co-morbid disorders, recovery, and therapeutic environment. 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).

“With this new partnership, our two organizations further the dissemination of important evidence-based practices across nursing specialties," says APNA President Kris A. McLoughlin, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN. “As nurses we well know that care is not provided in silos, and so we must work together to ensure that all populations receive the best possible holistic nursing care.”

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The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is a national professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders. APNA’s membership is inclusive of all psychiatric-mental health registered nurses including associate degree, baccalaureate, advanced practice (clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners), and nurse scientists and academicians (PhD). APNA serves as a resource for psychiatric mental health nurses to engage in networking, education, and the dissemination of research.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited with distinction as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

The National Association of School Nurses is a non-profit specialty nursing organization, organized in 1968 and incorporated in 1977, representing school nurses exclusively. NASN has nearly than 16,000 members and 50 affiliates, including the District of Columbia and overseas. The mission of NASN is to optimize student health and learning by advancing the practice of school nursing. To learn more about NASN, please visit us on the Web at http://www.nasn.org or call 866-627-6767.

National Association of School Nurses (NASN). (2012). The case for school nursing. Retrieved from https://www.nasn.org/portals/0/about/The_Case_for_School_Nursing.pdf
National Association of School Nurses (NASN). (June 2013). Mental health of students. Retrieved from http://www.nasn.org/Portals/0/positions/2013psmentalhealth.pdf
National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d.). Any disorder among children. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-disorder-among-children.shtml.

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

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Meaghan Trimyer
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