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American Psychiatric Nurses Association Identifies Urgent Need for Competency-Based Suicide Prevention Training for Psychiatric Mental Health RNs

Falls Church, VA (PRWEB) August 27, 2013

A position paper issued by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) and printed in the July/August issue of the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (JAPNA) identifies the need for consumer-centered, competency-based suicide assessment and prevention training for psychiatric mental health registered nurses (PMHRN) practicing in the inpatient setting. The position paper, “Competency-based Training for Nurse Generalists: Inpatient Intervention and Prevention of Suicide”, was approved by the APNA Board of Directors in June.

According to the CDC (2010), suicide is the tenth largest cause of death in the United States. The APNA position paper states that the majority of the approximately 90,000 PMHRN in hospitals across the United States work on inpatient psychiatric units where they provide treatment to persons who are acutely suicidal. Despite that fact, no standard competencies exist that are specific to PMHRNs for assessing and managing suicide risk. Furthermore, the current widely-accepted nursing practices do not meet suicide-specific standards of care or evidence-based practices.

APNA takes the position that, as nurses should practice to the fullest extent of their education and training, and as the reduction of suicidality is a critical dimension of quality of life, it is committed to the development, implementation, and evaluation of standards of care for PMHRNs who care for persons at risk for suicide. APNA also recognizes that collaborating with other groups invested in suicide prevention is essential to the successful development of these guidelines.

“As the largest organization committed to psychiatric mental health nursing in the US, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association recognizes that inpatient psychiatric mental health RNs, due to the scope of their practice, are able to create meaningful connections with hospitalized patients and address the urgent public health issue of suicide at the individual level,” says APNA President Beth Phoenix, PhD, RN, CNS. “We are committed to providing these nurses with tools and knowledge to help them do so.”

At this time, APNA has convened a task force to address the position paper’s recommendations. In addition, the association would particularly like to thank the following members of the APNA Education Council, who wrote the position paper: Cheryl Puntil, CNS, MN, APRN, PMHCNS, BC; Janet York, PhD, PMHCNC-BC, FAAN; Barbara Limandri, PhD, APRN, BC; Pamela Greene, PhD, RN; and consumer advocate Eric Arauz.

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 (comprised of clinical nurse specialists and psychiatric 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.

Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (JAPNA) is a peer-reviewed bi-monthly journal publishing up-to-date information to promote psychiatric nursing, improve mental health care for culturally diverse individuals, families, groups, and communities, as well as shape health care policy for the delivery of mental health services. JAPNA publishes both clinical and research articles relevant to psychiatric nursing. This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

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