American Psychiatric Nurses Association Announces 2021 Annual APNA Award Winners



“The annual APNA Awards recognize the accomplishments of nurses whose work improves the lives of individuals, their families and communities. “

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) has announced the eight nurses in the field of mental health and psychiatric nursing who will be honored for their work at the 35th Annual APNA Conference. This year’s award recipients were nominated by their colleagues and chosen for this honor by a committee of their peers. They include nurses who work to fill gaps in psychiatric and mental health education, reduce stress among healthcare workers tired by the pandemic, and improve the quality of life for veterans seeking mental health services.

“The annual APNA Awards recognize the accomplishments of nurses whose work improves the lives of individuals, their families and communities,” said APNA President Matthew Tierney, MS, CNS, ANP, PMHNP, FAAN, “I am delighted to celebrate these exceptional nurses. at the next APNA annual conference. Each of this year’s recipients epitomizes the theme of our conference, Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurses: Revolutionizing Access to Person-Centered Care. “

Evelyn Parrish, PhD, APRN-BC, FAANP, Associate Professor, University of Kentucky College of Nursing, will be named Psychiatric Nurse of the Year, for providing superb patient care and services in psychiatric nursing and mental health in settings. clinical management positions. She has had a positive impact on the quality of care through the development, implementation and evaluation of policies and the use of best evidence in clinical practice. By increasing the availability of advanced practice training, it has helped improve access to mental health treatment in underserved rural areas.

Carol Essenmacher, DNP, NCTTP, National Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, Indiana University School of Nursing, will receive the Distinguished Service Award, for her efforts to promote and advance mental health and psychiatric (PMH) nursing at within APNA, notably as an expert teacher for the APNA Motivational Interviewing educational program and leading the development of the APNA Nursing Competencies for Treating Tobacco Use Disorders.

Michael Terry, DNP, FNP, PMHNP, Clinical Professor at the University of San Diego, will receive the Excellence in Education Award, for his dedication to all facets of preparing nurses for service in mental and psychiatric health, including teaching, counseling, mentoring, designing an innovative behavioral health simulation and seeking grants to augment the existing curriculum. Its most recent grant will increase clinical training sites in integrated community health centers by fifty percent.

Barbara (Bambi) Carkey, DNP, PMHNP-BC, NPP, Assistant Instructor, College of Nursing, Upstate Medical University, will receive Excellence in Leadership Award – APRN, for partnering with mental health agencies and clinicians in order to broaden educational experiences. As a result, more PMH-APRN providers are providing mental health services in rural and underserved communities in central and upstate New York.

Stephanie Verdeflor, MSN, RN-BC, Nurse Clinician, New York-Presbyterian Westchester Behavioral Health Center, will receive the Excellence in Leadership Award – RN, for instilling patient-centered care practices while leading with a sense of calm. Using humor and optimism, she garners support for important initiatives and models the positive aspects of PMS nursing.

Donna Gaffney, BSN, MA, MS, DNSc, PMHCNS-BC, Advanced Practice Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse and Psychotherapist, will receive the Excellence in Practice Award – APRN, in recognition of providing the necessary self-care tools to nurses on duty during the pandemic, as well as contributions to healing families who survived catastrophic events such as September 11 and Hurricane Katrina.

Asneth Thomas-Rowe, BSN, RN, Nurse Manager, Bruce W. Carter Veterans Healthcare Administration, will receive the Award for Excellence in Practice – RN, for Improving Process and Standardized Care for Veterans, especially in areas of suicide precautions and alcohol use assessments, improving the quality of care and outcomes for these people.

Ursula Kelly, PhD, APRN, ANP-BC, PMHNP-BC, FAANP, Associate Professor, Emory University, will receive the Research Excellence Award for groundbreaking studies that have tracked the acceptability and feasibility of providing yoga responsive to trauma to female veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) linked to military sexual trauma.


About the APNA Annual Conference:

The 35th Annual APNA Conference will be held in Louisville, KY, October 13-16, 2021 and virtually December 10-12, 2021. In addition to honoring this year’s recipients, the APNA Annual Conference will offer more from 100 varied sessions and networking opportunities to over 1,600 RNs and APRNs in psychiatry and mental health who attend each year.

About APNA:

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is a national organization of professional members engaged in the practice of mental health nursing and the promotion of wellness, the prevention of mental health problems, and the care and treatment of people with psychiatric disorders . APNA membership includes all registered psychiatric mental health nurses including associate’s, bachelor’s, advanced practice (comprised of clinical nurse specialists and psychiatric nurse practitioners) and nurse scientists. and academics (PhD). APNA serves as a resource for psychiatric mental health nurses to engage in networking, education and research dissemination.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of continuing professional development in nursing by the Accreditation Commission of the American Nurses Credentialing Center.



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