Psychiatry nurses attend BHECN Nursing Summit

Registered Nurses Michelle Fischer, Phoebe Gearhart, and Julie Griffin attended the third annual Psychiatric Nurse Workforce Summit last month.

Last month, several nurses from the Department of the Psychiatry attended the third annual Psychiatric Nurse Workforce Summit.

The conference, organized by the Behavioral Health Educational Center of Nebraska (BHECN), provides nurse practitioners, registered nurses, other health professionals, and students an opportunity to gather and discuss challenges and innovative strategies for psychiatric mental health nursing education, practice and policy to increase delivery of psychiatric mental health care in Nebraska.

Registered Nurse Phoebe Gearhart, nurse lead with the Department of Psychiatry, attended the conference for a second straight year. Gearhart said she pleased to hear discussions on nursing, and the focus of the summits wasn’t just on nurse practitioners. Julie Griffin, an RN with the psychiatry department, also attended last year and really enjoyed the topics, so she went again this year.

“There were a lot of good discussions on how to handle follow-up calls and what to do in common situations,” Griffin said. “Also, a lot of talk on office strategies. We’re always looking at ways to improve nursing interactions with providers and enhance proficiency in the office.”

The Department of Psychiatry also had numerous speakers and panel members at the summit, including Dr. Ken Zoucha, Maggie Milner and Brigitte Vaughan.

Michelle Fischer, an RN who works in the new addictions division, attended for the first time.

“I decided to go because everyone told me if I went I would learn a lot,” she said. “I was happy to see a lot of talk on addictions.”

The summit will return next fall, and Gearhart would like to see the summit increase from one day to two. The first day would be a discussion on increasing the psychiatric nurse workforce and the second day would provide continuing education opportunities for the nurses.

More than one hundred nurses from all across Nebraska attended the Psychiatric Nurse Workforce Summit.

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