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American Psychiatric Nurses Association forms new 'Recovery Council'

September 28, 2011
by News release
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Arlington, Va. — The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA), a national professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing, has formed a "Recovery Council" to facilitate the APNA’s recovery-related activities and outreach.

The council was endorsed unanimously by the APNA Board of Directors in August. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is taking part in the transformation of the mental health care system by promoting the use of a recovery-based approach in the delivery of mental health services. Recovery-based mental health care embraces the whole person, not just an illness or pathology. It is consumer and family-driven, strengths-based, and emphasizes healing and hope.

Co-Chaired by Nancy Dillon, PhD, RN, CNS and Mary Jensen, MA, RN, CRSS, the Recovery Council will further APNA’s recovery initiative through multiple channels. The council will coordinate with the APNA Consumer Advisory Panel to gain the perspective and input of mental health consumers regarding APNA’s recovery activities, policies, and educational programs.

Recovery Council members will also review and evaluate APNA’s existing activities related to recovery, identify needs and opportunities related to recovery, and make recommendations to the APNA Board of Directors. More broadly, the Recovery Council will provide an overall framework for the organization’s recovery initiatives. “The concept of recovery is relatively new in behavioral health,” says APNA President Carole Farley Toombs, MS, RN, NEA, BC “but the focus on the instillation of hope and a holistic approach to care has always been foundational to the practice of psychiatric mental health nursing.”

The Recovery Council will incorporate the work of the Recovery to Practice Task Force, which represents the American Psychiatric Nurses Association as one of five participants in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s five year Recovery to Practice Initiative. This SAMHSA initiative brings together psych nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and peer specialists to develop strategies on how best to implement recovery principles into mental health provider education and practice.

The task force, co-chaired by Mary Ann Boyd, PhD, DNS, PMHCNS-BC and Georgia Stevens, PhD, APRN, BC, PMH, CNS, is currently working to develop a recovery to practice nursing curriculum and training manual under the guidance of a curriculum workgroup. Jeanne Clement, EdD, APRN, BC, FAAN, Mary Moller, DNP, ARNP, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, CPRP, FAAN, and Kris McLoughlin, DNP, APRN, PMHCNS- BC, CADC-ll are serving as co-chairs of this workgroup.

Dillon has been in mental health treatment for over 40 years. Her organization received the APNA Award for Best Practices in the Treatment of Schizophrenia for their implementation of the Illness Management and Recovery Program, one of SAMSHA’s six evidence based practices. She advocates for person centeredness in all of her work and assists individuals in believing in the possibility and probability of recovery and helps them achieve it.

Jensen is the first nurse certified in Illinois by the Illinois Certification Board as a Recovery Support Specialist and provides consultation from personal experiences, perspective as a nurse, and as a peer provider of mental health services. Mary expresses her commitment to mental health recovery education by sharing her story and continuing to work directly with national and international leaders in mental health recovery.