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I have chosen to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. I chose this path because I feel God is calling me to help guide and mentor people through this age of transition. With the increase of the digital age, social media specifically, and the COVID Pandemic, peoples’ mental health needs need to be cared for in a better manner than how they are currently being managed. “The role of the PMHNP is to assess, diagnose and treat the mental health needs of patients. Many PMHNPs provide therapy and prescribe medication for patients who have mental health disorders or substance abuse problems.” (American Association of Nurse Practitioners, n.d.) I believe your overall health begins with a healthy mind. When your mental health is not healthy you can spiral out of control and turn to substances (illicit drugs, alcohol, food, etc.) or self-harm. This can lead to other health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, liver disorders, kidney disorders, etc. I feel as a PMHNP I will be able to start with the root cause of a patient’s overall health. I waxed and waned with my decision between a PMHNP and FNP. I feel starting with PMHNP is the best option for me at the moment and continuing afterward to have a dual certification as an FNP.
“Another factor essential to a nurse’s professional development is active membership in 1 or more professional organization. Memberships provide exposure and access to education resources (eg, websites, webinars, publications, and conferences) and rewarding networking opportunities with peers and colleagues.” (Cherry et all, 2019)
Having been a member of the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) for 8 years, I too feel it is important to become a member of your of an association for your nursing specialty. I have chosen to become a member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. Their mission statement and beliefs are parallel to my own.
APNA is committed to the practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing, health and wellness promotion through identification of mental health issues, prevention of mental health problems, and the care and treatment of persons with mental health disorders. APNA champions psychiatric-mental health nursing and mental health care through the development of positions on key issues, the dissemination of current knowledge and developments in PMH nursing, and collaboration with stakeholders to promote advances in recovery-focused assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and evaluation of persons with mental health disorders. (American Psychiatric Nurses Association, n.d.)
Becoming a member was as easy as going to their website www.apna.org and selecting your membership type, fill in the required information, and pay the fee. Being a member will give me access to educational opportunities, resources, and connection through conferences, publications, and information on advanced certifications.
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I thought I would not go back to school, but here I am today, expecting a graduation date in my sixties. I did not have any difficulties choosing a nursing specialty within the program. I have decided to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. My background is in Med-Surg ICU, ED, Mental Health, and Administration. From all my experiences, my passion is Mental Health and becoming a PMHNP. My decision was driving due to this populations’ significant stigma and vulnerability. I have chosen to get my PMHNP degree from Walden University because it is a personalized program led by faculty with a doctoral degree, offers support and flexibility to students to achieve their dreams (Walden University, 2021).
The factor that has driven my decision to become a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is the need for our professional coworkers and community to understand mental illness. Studies show that knowledge, values, and stigma of mental illness affect patient care and recommend that nursing curriculums integrate studies that minimize these factors and increase the quality of patient care (Abuhammad et al., 2019). Once I become a PMHNP, I will be able to serve and actively advocate for changes in mental health in my daily practice.
The American Psychiatric Nurse Association aligns with my practice and goals of serving patients with mental health disorders by expanding my knowledge to improve patient quality of care through evidence-based practice. The APNA offers CEUs, a resource library, and network opportunities (American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 2021). I plan to join the American Psychiatric Nurse Association in the future to support my career goals, network, and professional development. According to Echeverria (2018), “Professional organizations can serve as a venue for nurses to become engaged in the transformation of healthcare delivery. Ultimately, the transformation starts with the nurse and his or her individual actions” (p. 38).
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