Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Team Wins Awards From HRSA and AHEC

“This work is essential.  Clearly Psych MH needs are on the rise given the challenged economy, prolonged efforts to secure peace, and lack of providers.  The work of our PMHNP faculty is exemplary.  Their collective excellence in teaching, research and practice is laudable.  Victoria, Mary Lynn, and team — you sure will be busy for the next few years!  Congratulations and thank you,” says Kristen Swanson, RN, PhD, FAAN, Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor.

Our psychiatric-mental health graduate faculty team is to be commended for obtaining two Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grants this summer and one Area Health Education Center (AHEC) grant:

1) Mary Lynn Piven, PhD, RN, from HRSA for the “HealthyIDEAS Program Chatham-Carolina (HIPCC)” which funds a 3-year community partnership with the Chatham County SeniorCitizens program to replicate an evidence-based program, Healthy IDEAS (IdentifyingDepression, Empowering Activities for Seniors) to detect and manage depressive symptoms in caregivers and older adults with chronic health conditions and functional limitations, living in Chatham County, to develop clinical sites and the accompanying curriculum to increase the knowledge and expertise of undergraduate and graduate nursing students and support faculty practice opportunities. Victoria Soltis-Jarrett, PhD, RN,  from our school as well as Rebecca Hunter and Lea Watson from the School of Medicine are collaborators on this project.

2) Victoria Soltis-Jarrett from HRSA for “Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners in NC:  Meeting the Needs of the Underserved in North Carolina” (now known as “Psych NP-NC”), a three year project with NEW objectives which will enhance the PMHNP curriculum, expand the geographical impact and increase access of mental health care services for citizens who live in an additional 37 rural and remote counties in NC.  This project builds on the previous HRSA grants by continuing to recruit and educate minority and disadvantaged psychiatric nurses from a total of 68 targeted counties yet does recruit from all regions. In addition, through this project, the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) curriculum will be enhanced to focus on children/adolescents and the elderly with mental health problems as well as advances in psychopharmacology. Finally, linkages with AHEC and the state DHHS will facilitate a sustainable partnership for the future. Victoria, Mary Lynn Piven, Grace Hubbard, Vicki Kowlowitz, Rumay Alexander and Jennifer D’Auria are all supported in part on this grant.

3) Victoria Soltis-Jarrett from AHEC to continue its support of the APRN-PMH program to assist with our efforts to enroll students from rural and underserved areas of NC. Funding from AHEC has been utilized to conduct needs assessments, undertake curriculum planning, recruit and support students, and develop clinical sites and preceptors. Victoria and Grace Hubbard are supported in part by this grant.

Soltis-Jarrett Joins NC Board of Nursing Advisory Committee

Kudos to associate clinical professor Victoria Soltis-Jarrett, PhD, who has been been appointed to the North Carolina State Board of Nursing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) Advisory Committee. She has been chosen to represent APRNs and also our school on this important committee. Soltis-Jarrett heads the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program.

International Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing Society Elects Victoria Soltis-Jarrett to Leadership Post

Victoria Soltis-Jarrett has just learned that she has been elected President-Elect of the International Society for Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing (ISPN). Her term runs from today through April, 2012.  She will be working with the board of directors to set goals and objectives to unite and strengthen the presence and voice of specialty advanced practice PMH nurses by (a) increasing national awareness of PMH exemplars in practice, education, research; (b) maintaining and growing collaborations with national organizations influencing practice; and (c) increasing the breath of member publications and presentations at national meetings.

Victoria will be working closely with both national and international leaders in psychiatric mental health advanced practice nursing and other nursing organizations. Please join me in congratulating Victoria for this international recognition of her leadership in PMH nursing.

N.C. Dept. of Health & Human Services Promotes SON Psych-Mental Health Program

The N.C. Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services sent out a memo yesterday, June 17, to all local medical entities and directors, promoting  the SON’s master’s and post-master’s degree psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program.

The letter highlights this program and its graduates as valuable contributors to the healthcare workforce who can accentuate and broaden the mental health services currently available to patients in the state.

According to SON faculty member Victoria Soltis-Jarrett, who coordinates the psych-mental health nurse practitioner program, the School will graduate 20 nurses with this degree this year. Over the next four years, she said she anticipates the program will produce a total of 100 graduates, all of whom are committed to meeting the mental health needs of North Carolina.

Local medical organizations or individuals interested in learning more about the program or its graduates should contact Soltis-Jarrett: (919) 843-8587 or vsoltis@email.unc.edu.

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