Professional News
Organization Raises Profile of Nurses in MH Care
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 23 page 4-41

Rosalynn Carter continues to lead multiple efforts to improve the circumstances and care of people with mental illness, which she detailed in a recent address to nurse researchers. And when she talks about the special role of nurses throughout medicine, her voice fills with warmth.

"Sometimes the most important part of the healing process is knowing that someone cares, and nurses truly care," said Carter in a speech in Washington, D.C., in October.

Carter, a former first lady and the chair of the Carter Center's Mental Health Task Force, presented the keynote address at a fundraiser held by the Friends of the National Institute of Nursing Research (FNINR).

She described the unique role nurses frequently undertake in tracking the care of those who are too young or sick to advocate for themselves.

Strengthening the role of nurses in providing mental health care is among the leading priorities of psychiatrist Mary Jane England, M.D., a former APA president who is president of the FNINR.

Among the priorities of the nonprofit FNINR is ensuring that the research conducted on nursing's role in mental health care and other areas of medicine makes its way into clinical settings. The organization also provides federal advocacy for nursing research and explains the role of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) to the media.

The institute has been a leader in end-of-life care, the self-management of chronic illnesses, and depression related to nonmental health conditions.

"The nurses tend to be very translational in moving the science and evidence-based practice into the community settings," England told Psychiatric News. "So they are very patient focused."

As part of the FNINR's psychiatric nursing focus, the organization is creating a short film featuring psychiatric nurse researchers that will provide nursing students insight into the "depth and strength" of the research the mental health nurses conduct on delivery of patient care. The film is part of the FNINR's effort to boost the number of nurse researchers, an effort that also includes providing financial assistance to doctoral nursing students.

A psychiatric nurse researcher was among the nurse researchers honored for their achievements at the FNINR awards banquet. Deborah Gross, D.N.Sc., R.N., a professor of mental health and psychiatric nursing at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, has focused her research on the mental health and well-being of young children living in low-income urban areas. Funding from the NINR has helped her develop and test a cost-effective program to strengthen parenting competence and confidence among families from diverse backgrounds.

Gross's program used video vignettes of challenging parental situations to educate parents of young children about techniques that succeed in correcting child misbehavior and prevent the development of behavior disorders in their offspring. ▪

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