The following article is a part of conference coverage from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30 to October 4, 2020. The team at the Clinical Advisor will be reporting on the latest news and research conducted by leading nurses in psychiatry. Check back for more from APNA 2020.


Expanding educational opportunities for psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs) and DNP trainees specifically for telepsychiatry should be implemented before entry into clinical practice, according to a poster presented at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference, held online from September 30th to October 4th, 2020.  

Training nurse practitioners in telepsychiatry earlier in their careers will benefit rural and medically underserved areas of the United States, noted Bambi A. Carkey, DNP, PMHNP-BC, NPP and Judy Traynor, PMHNP-BC, NPP, of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University (UMU), College of Nursing, in Syracuse, NY.

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Dr Carkey and colleagues received a Health Resources and Services Administration grant to expand access to psychiatric services in rural and underserved areas through training of PMHNP and DNP students. The investigators reviewed available literature to gather information on telepsychiatry programs for medical students, but no results yielded information on education for APRN students. Through working with colleagues, the authors were able to obtain Continuing Education offerings that correlated with telepsychiatry education designed for practicing APRNs.

In May 2019, UMU College of Nursing hosted a program, titled Telehealth Focused on Psychiatry. During the program, preceptors, students, and graduates offered insight into the world of telepsychiatry from their own clinical experiences and real-world learnings. Additionally, a presentation was given on gaining knowledge around key telepsychiatry considerations, such as reimbursement policy and specific technology selection and resources for program planning and implementation. The presentation also covered specific requirements associated with telehealth in the state of New York.

“The implementation of telepsychiatry can be accomplished with the expansion of technology and can reduce workforce shortage of psychiatric providers as competencies are developed early in the clinical educational experience,” the authors stated.

Students in attendance at the conference had the opportunity to share their experiences associated with telepsychiatry, during which they offered information about challenges and barriers of telepsychiatry, as well as lessons learned.

“As a clinician, I can attest to how useful this conference has been to my practice. In light of COVID-19 pandemic, my practice has been exclusively telepsychiatry since March, 2020,” Dr Carkey stated.

Disclosure: This study was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Carkey B, Traynor J. Including telepsychiatry in family psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner/DNP student. Presented virtually at: APNA 34th Annual Conference; September 30-October 4, 2020. Poster 56.