Patricia Cunningham Receives American Psychiatric Nurses Award

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Patricia Cunningham, DNSc, associate professor of Nursing, received the 2011 American Psychiatric Nurses Association Award for Excellence in Practice — Advanced Practice Registered Nurse category.

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is pleased to announce that Patricia Cunningham, DNSc, associate professor in the College of Nursing, received the 2011 American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Award for Excellence in Practice — Advanced Practice Registered Nurse category. Dr. Cunningham, who also serves as the Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Option Coordinator at UTHSC, was nominated by her peers and selected by an APNA committee. Annually, the APNA bestows awards in seven categories to individuals who exemplify a superior dedication to and passion for the psychiatric mental health nursing profession. The awards were presented in October at the APNA 25th Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

“It is quite an honor to have a faculty member with such a distinguished award,” says Susan Jacob, PhD, interim dean of the UT College of Nursing. “We are grateful that the APNA recognizes Dr. Cunningham’s abilities and dedication in the advanced practice mental health nursing profession, a field that requires a very close working relationship with patients, as well as their families.”

“This level of care is both challenging and interesting,” says Dr. Cunningham. “I assist in making positive changes in the lives of psychiatric patients. My service to the evolution, education and role of performing as an advanced practice psychiatric nurse is extremely gratifying.”

Dr. Cunningham is certified as an adult psychiatric/mental health clinical nurse specialist through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She also holds certifications as a psychiatric family nurse practitioner and a family nurse practitioner. In addition to her roles at UTHSC, she volunteers with the Tennessee Public Safety Network to serve the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office with critical incident stress debriefing.

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association is a national professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric mental health nursing, the 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, as well as nurse scientists and academicians. APNA serves as a resource for psychiatric mental health nurses to engage in networking, education, and the dissemination of research. For more information, visit: www.apna.org/.