Terry Dobmeier’s Experience with the APNA Conference

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I recently had the opportunity to attend the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Psychopharmacology Conference in Reston, Virginia this past week and thoroughly enjoyed the continuing education in my field and collegiality among the attendees.  As an APN working in a college health setting, I found the sessions on differential diagnosis of bipolar disorder and severe irritability in youth, management of ADHD across the lifespan, and understanding first episode psychosis in young adults to be very interesting and applicable to my work.

Dr. Thomas Insel, MD, the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), provided the keynote address entitled “Disruptive Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience:  Where Will We Find the Next Generation of Therapeutics?” With my growing interest in current controversies in mental healthcare, I found his address to be affirming of my concerns and his insights into future innovations fascinating.  He identified the current therapeutic paradox to be: Despite increased treatment as measured by epidemiology, prescriptions and expense in recent years, there has been no decrease (and in some areas, increased mortality and morbidity).  He proposed that current treatments are not effective enough to influence public health outcomes.  It was also refreshing to hear him acknowledge that psychiatry owes the public an apology for its failures of the past that have impacted the lives of patients negatively.

Dr. Insel left the group with exciting news of a current research agenda at NIMH that includes investigation into new molecular targets and clinical targets, and a new culture of clinical neuroscience.  The discussion offered hope of advances in genomics, epigenetics, biodiagnostics, repurposing of known treatments, as well as standardization and integration of the work of academia, industry, foundations and government.  That’s quite an agenda! You can check out more about the NIMH Strategic Research Priorities at Dr Insel’s blog:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/research-priorities/strategic-objectives/index.shtml

I encourage all nurses to become affiliated with professional organizations that provide opportunities for professional growth and provide current insights into pertinent issues that impact their practice.  Attending a regional, national or international conference can be a powerful “shot in the arm” for your professional outlook and career!

Terry Dobmeier, MS, PMHCNS-BC, APRN

Assistant Professor of Nursing

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One thought on “Terry Dobmeier’s Experience with the APNA Conference

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