Pardee nurse Lori Johnson among first to receive training for suicide prevention

September 20, 2016

Pardee Hospital announced today that Lori Johnson, MSW, BSN, RN-BC, a nurse in the hospital’s Psychiatric and Addictions Therapeutic Healing Services (PATHS) department, is one of 32 nurses nationally to receive suicide prevention training from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA). Following participation in year-long online and in-person education, training, and practice, Johnson is now confirmed as a content expert in suicide risk assessment, management and prevention and is now able to provide this training to institutions, communities, and individuals.  

“Given that this is such a rare national accomplishment, we are privileged to have Lori as a team member here at Pardee,” said Bridget Barron, BSN, RN-BC, nursing service director of PATHS at Pardee. “We understand that mental health does not exist just behind the wall of a psychiatric unit, it exists organization-wide. Lori will have the opportunity to educate all of our nurses in recognizing the signs and symptoms of someone struggling with thoughts of suicide. Not only will our fellow nurses benefit from this education, our patients will have state-of-the-art suicide assessments and care. This training will help save lives.”

“Through the efforts of these 32 nurses, we as a profession will take an important step in preventing suicide and offering hope to those in acute need,” says American Psychiatric Nurses Association President Mary Ann Nihart, MA, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP-BC. “I extend my sincerest thanks to each one for their leadership. As they take this training across the country (and world), they truly are advocates for hope.”

Through education delivered by qualified instructors, the Competency-Based Training for Suicide Prevention can help nurses interpret and apply the competencies to their practice, which will enable them to demonstrate a systematic approach to suicide prevention on the inpatient unit. The training provides a foundation of information necessary for expert care in this area, as well as continuing nursing education contact hours. Participants in the trainings delivered by these 32 instructors will gain increased knowledge, skills and attitudes related to:

  • The phenomenon of suicide
  • Managing personal reactions, attitudes, and beliefs
  • Developing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship
  • Collecting accurate assessment information
  • Communicating suicide risk to appropriate persons
  • Formulating a risk assessment
  • Developing an ongoing nursing plan of care
  • Assessing the safety of the patient environment
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Documenting suicide risk

According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and is a major public health problem (1). The increase in the instance of suicide on inpatient psychiatric units mirrors the overall increase in suicide rates in the U.S. over the past decade (2). Many of the approximately 90,000 psychiatric-mental health registered nurses in the US (3) provide 24-hour care to those hospitalized for suicidal thoughts and behaviors on acute care inpatient units. It is believed that death by suicide is mostly preventable if the person at risk for suicide receives proper screening, identification, and prompt intervention from competent mental health professionals (4). With a commitment to train nurses, who compose the largest segment of the health care workforce, in the assessment and management of suicide risk, each of the APNA Competency-Based Training Instructors is taking a leadership role in health care community efforts to reduce deaths by suicide.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is a national professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric-mental health nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders. APNA’s membership is inclusive of all psychiatric mental health registered nurses including associate degree, baccalaureate, advanced practice (comprised of clinical nurse specialists and psychiatric nurse practitioners), and nurse scientists and academicians (PhD). APNA serves as a resource for psychiatric mental health nurses to engage in networking, education, and the dissemination of research. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.