All About Us
Fall Institute for Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses
Original (Early) History of the Institute: 1979 to 1985
As outlined by Dort Gregg and Pam Staves: The Institute founders, Ann Bullock and Dorothy Gregg, designed the original annual Institute for Psychiatric Nurse Clinicians in Colorado as an educational endeavor in 1979. The term "Institute" was selected by the first planning committee for these annual conferences with the definition "The Institute is an opportunity to focus in depth on a topic or an issue with colleagues who desire to learn together and acquire new skills". The Institute was created out of a felt need of clinical specialists in psychiatric mental health nursing to have a statewide forum in Colorado in which to share ideas; to discuss professional concerns, issues and problems pertinent to their specialty; and to present their work to each other for critique and discussion. Another driving force for the instigation of the Institute was the need for clinicians in psychiatric nursing who were working in various kinds of direct services to clients, as well as those who were working in consultation, administration, education and research to get to know each other and establish professional relationships which could enhance the development of specialist services and professional collaboration. The two-fold general purposes of the Institute were formulated from these needs. These purposes were: to provide clinical specialists in psychiatric-mental health nursing a scholarly forum and to provide an opportunity to develop collaborative networking in professional endeavors.
The Institute was moved each year to be held in various geographical locations around the state in order to facilitate participants getting acquainted with different parts of the state and to equalize somewhat the travel distances for members attending the Institute from different parts of the state. The locations of the institute were also selected to enable participants to combine recreation and relaxation in an attractive setting with a high level professional educational endeavor. The last weekend in September or first of October was the traditional date in order to capture the height of the aspen glow in the Colorado mountain settings.
The Institute was the collaborative professional effort of clinical specialists for their own group. Each Institute was developed and conducted by a volunteer planning committee. Sharing in the responsibilities of the Institute, either in committee planning and conducting an Institute, in giving a presentation of a program or by serving as a moderator or group discussion leader was the only “tuition”. The design of each Institute was to be cost contained and self-supporting, and registration fees covered only direct costs in the execution of the Institute without profit. The Institute Planning Committee had no paid staff, and neither honorarium nor travel expenses were paid to speakers. Each participating member was responsible for his/her own food, lodging, transportation, and the payment of a small fee to cover the operating costs. All individuals who attended the Institute were expected to volunteer for one of the above listed responsibilities in conducting an Institute at some time.
Attendance at the Institute was by invitation and was limited to at least Masters Degree prepared clinical specialists in psychiatric-mental health nursing in Colorado. Participants in the Institute who left the state continued to be included on the invitation list if they so requested. Some alumni of the University of Colorado have used the Institute as class reunions.
The Institute attendees were traditionally limited to psychiatric nursing specialists in order to focus specifically on the concerns of the specialty. The Institute neither owned nor published the content of its programs, and participants were encouraged to use their Institute presentations for their own later publication, perhaps with further elucidation of ideas stimulated by discussion at the Institute. Participants were also encouraged to enter their papers for presentation to other professional organizations with wider audiences such as national professional societies as they wished. The information from the Institute could be used by psychiatric-mental health nursing specialists, through discussion with their colleagues in the field, to enhance their interest and abilities to participate in the organizations of the nursing profession in regional, national, and international arenas and to contribute in interdisciplinary societies.
The Institute was a production and possession of the specialists in psychiatric mental health nursing in Colorado. The base of operations of The Institute was originally based in some of the resources of the University of Colorado School of Nursing. In 1985 the base of operations for The Institute was transferred to the Colorado Society of Clinical Specialists in Psychiatric Nursing (CSCSPN), the psychiatric mental health district of Colorado Nurses Association (CNA). Institute chairs were initially elected from the CSCSPN membership (“the Society”) and related to (communicated with) the Education Committee of the Society.
Within a short period of time, each Institute was developed and conducted by a planning committee of volunteers from previous Institute participants. The Institutes were thereby created and operated by the clinicians who attended them. This preserved the “free-standing” nature of the Institutes’ endeavors and continued to place the responsibility for the content, quality and format of the Institute upon the members who participated in them.
A Changing Psychiatric Nursing World: 1995 to 2014
The psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) role was one of the first formal advanced practice nursing roles, and was developed in the mid 1950s. Psychiatric CNSs had master’s degrees and were trained in multiple roles including direct care clinicians (individual and group psychotherapy), administration, research, consultation liaison, and education. The 1990s ushered in “the decade of the brain” in mental health. This new understanding of the biological bases of mental illness led to a shift from psychotherapy toward the inclusion of medication management and the integration of care of physical and psychological conditions ( ID=1330484). The late 1990s saw the introduction of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) role, which paralleled existing nurse practitioner roles in other specialties. In 1995 Colorado passed a law granting direct care psychiatric CNSs to obtain their prescriptive authority (RXN). In 2011 the ANCC (America Nurses Credentialing Center) announced that it was retiring the Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist national examinations and board certification by 2014 as part of the implementation of the new APRN (Advanced Practice Registered Nurse) Consensus Model (). Since 2014 nurses wanting to pursue initial national board certification in advanced practice psychiatric nursing have taken the national board examination for Family Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Clinical Nurse Specialists are still being educated in many other areas of nursing practice, but no longer in psychiatric mental health nursing.
In 2015 the Colorado Society of Clinical Specialists in Psychiatric Nursing (CSCSPN) changed its name to Colorado Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses (CAPPN) to recognize the inclusion of all advanced practice nurses who specialize in psychiatric mental health nursing, whether they were CNSs or NPs and whether or not they had prescriptive authority.
Later History of the Institute: 1985 to 2015
Since its inception, when the original purpose and mission of the Institute was established for Psychiatric Nurse Clinicians in Colorado, the clinical world of advanced practice psychiatric nursing has continued to evolve (as noted above). The Institute has continued to change reflecting these emerging trends. After some psychiatric CNSs started obtaining their RXN, some of the content of the Institute was broadened to include topics pertinent to medication management and the integration of care of both physical and psychological conditions. The Institute also started offering presentations discussing alternative treatment modalities as well as wellness topics, which were requested by the participants. The Institute also started offering CEUs for their presentations, which were required for certification. Professionals from other disciplines (such as psychiatrists, psychologists, medical nurse practitioners, and alternative medicine practitioners) were invited to speak at the Institute, in addition to the APRNs, to help address the evolving educational needs identified by the participants as well as from the broader organization. During this time the Institute continued to be moved each year to various geographical locations around the state to try to equalize the travel distances of members and to continue with the tradition of choosing a mountain retreat-like setting, which would combine recreation and relaxation with a professional continuing education endeavor. Since 2004 the Institute has been held primarily in the mountain communities closer to the Denver metro area. This decision was based on feedback at each Institute and has consistently produced the highest number of attendees.
As mentioned earlier, Institute coordinators were initially elected from the Society membership and related to (communicated with) the Education Committee of the Society. Within a short period of time a non-elected and full volunteer planning committee evolved which developed, conducted, and shared in all the responsibilities of the Institute. A representative of the Institute planning committee continued to communicate with the Education Committee of CSCSPN/CAPPN as needed. Institute attendees were still expected to “pay back” by volunteering for the Institute planning committee, giving a presentation, serving as a moderator, or a group discussion leader. The Institutes have thereby continued to be created and operated by the clinicians who attend them. This tradition preserved the “free standing” nature of the Institute’s endeavors and continued to place the responsibility for the content, quality and format of the Institute among its participants.
The Institute has continued to be cost contained and self-supporting, with registration fees (tuition) covering only the direct costs of the Institute without profit. Initially each participating Institute attendee was responsible for his/her own food, lodging, transportation, and the payment of fees (tuition), which covered the operating costs. Advanced practice psychiatric nurses who presented at the Institute were offered one night’s paid lodging, while other speakers were offered both one night’s paid lodging as well as a modest honorarium. Eventually, a modest honorarium was added for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse presenters as well. Over time, meals and snacks were included in the tuition, as well as the cost of the speakers and CEUs, while participants still paid for their own lodging and transportation.
Pharmaceutical companies were invited to set up exhibits, separate from the educational offering, starting in the late 1990s when APRNs began to prescribe medications. This practice helped offset the rising costs associated with having the Institute, and also allowed the tuition to continue to be affordable for the participants. This also served as an opportunity for psychiatric prescribers to meet with pharmaceutical company representatives and to become more familiar with new psychiatric medications if they desired and/or if it was applicable to their practice. The pharmaceutical companies set up exhibits, and often sponsored meals with a pharmaceutical company sponsored speaker, which Institute participants could choose to attend if they desired. Pharmaceutical monies and presentations are kept separate from the Institutes’ educational offering.
Current Evolution of the Institute: 2015-2016
Over the past several years, the Institute has been “doing business” with the Colorado Nurses Association (CNA) and Special Interest Group (SIG) 31 (CAPPN). Because of recent changes in financial arrangements within CNA, changes in the financial relationship with the Institute were needed so the Institute could remain a “free-standing” entity and conduct business accordingly. In 2016 the Institute obtained its own tax ID number (TIN) and wrote its own Charter and they will write their by-laws in 2017. This was all part of the process necessary to become independent financially from Colorado Nurses Association (CNA) and provides for increased transparency of each organizations monies.
This change reflects the evolution of the Institute to continue as a freestanding business entity that will continue to collaborate and cooperate with the Colorado Nurses Association, but now will be responsible for its own financial record keeping and monies. In 2016, the Institute updated its history to reflect the above mentioned name changes and current practices and to clarify the current and evolving relationship of the Institute with the professional organization Colorado Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses (CAPPN), (formerly known as Colorado Society of Clinical Specialists in Psychiatric Nursing or CSCSPN).
The Institute continues to have the same two-fold general purposes identified by the original planners which are to provide advanced practice psychiatric nurses in psychiatric-mental health nursing a scholarly forum, and to provide opportunities to develop collaborative networking in professional endeavors. It also continues with the goal of providing an opportunity for recreation and relaxation over a fall weekend in an attractive mountain setting combined with a high level professional educational endeavor, which also offers CEUs for re-licensure and national board certification.
The Institute continues to have a professional relationship with CAPPN and members of the planning committee are expected to be members of CAPPN. In fact, over the years many members of the Institute planning committee have served on the Board of CAPPN/CSCSPN. The Institute is considered a membership benefit for CAPPN members and is offered at a lower price than for nonmembers. Students in Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nursing programs are also invited to attend the Institute, and were offered a discounted student rate beginning in 2016. Retired members of CAPPN were also offered a discounted tuition rate for the Institute in 2016. A scholarship has also traditionally been available for an Institute participant as well. Many attendees share lodging with the goal of attempting to make the Institute affordable for as many attendees as possible.
There has been a long history of a collaborative relationship between CAPPN/CSCSPN and the Institute. The Institute planning committee sends mailed invitations to past participants as well as has continued to advertise on CAPPN and other relevant websites. CAPPN Board members are encouraged to identify topics for continuing education that meet membership needs, and to communicate those continuing education needs to the Institute planning committee. Topics for the Institute are a combination of Institute participant feedback at each Institute, feedback from previous participants of the Institute, and from needs identified by the CAPPN Board.
Each Institute continues to be developed and conducted by a Planning Committee of unpaid volunteers from previous Institute participants who are members of CAPPN. The Institute continues to be operated as a stand alone continuing educational conference for advanced practice psychiatric nurses in Colorado who attend the Institute. This continues to preserve the "free-standing” nature of the Institutes’ endeavors, and continues to place the responsibility for the content, quality and format of the Institute upon the members of the Planning Committee and those who participate in the Institute. At the end of each Institute, attendees provide an evaluation of the educational offerings, and are polled about the best location and date for the next Institute as well as for ideas for topics and speakers for the next Institute.
Starting in 2016, due to evolving ANCC CEU requirements, participants were asked to identify learning outcomes they desired from future educational offerings. All of this information is reviewed by the Institute planning committee as part of planning for the following years Institute. Even though the Institute was originally designed primarily for advanced practice psychiatric nurses, all advanced practice nurses are welcome to attend, as well as professionals from other disciplines if they so choose. Advanced Practice nurses working in primary care and in neurology may find some sessions particularly pertinent to their scope of practice.
Last updated: February 2021