Mental Health Nursing

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Advanced Practice Nurses play an important role in leading health care change. This role is instrumental to the improvement of both patient safety and quality of outcomes. The American Association of the Colleges of Nursing [AACN, 2006], developed core competencies for all advanced practice nurses called the DNP Essentials (AACN, DNP Essentials, 2006). The DNP Essential Two (AACN, DNP Essential II, 2006) clearly states, “advanced practice includes an organizational and systems leadership component that emphasizes practice ongoing improvement of health outcomes and ensuring patient safety.”

The DNP Essentials (AACN, DNP Essentials, 2006) are the core competencies for all advanced practice nurses. The core competencies are supported by an practitioners’ individual foundation consisting of beliefs and views in regards to philosophies, paradigms, concepts, and theories. It is important for advanced practice nurses to reflect, assess personal beliefs, customs, and ethics, as well as obtain an understanding of your personal strengths and weaknesses. This process of self-reflection and ongoing personal development will dictate which paradigms, concepts, theories, and knowledge from other disciplines that you incorporate into clinical practice (Denisco & Barker, 2013). This assessment is ongoing and will facilitate the development of advanced practice nurses into leadership roles. Also, an ongoing self-assessment process, as well as leadership development will help facilitate the development of praxis (Carper, 1978). The advancement of the nursing profession will move beyond practice to engagement in social processes. This process will facilitate the closure of health care inequalities in our current healthcare system, according to Carper (1978). I believe this is the one of the highest achievements for an advanced practice nurse.

In my current role as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), I am responsible for the assessment, diagnosis, and...