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To understand what the American Psychiatric Nurses Association is and how it might relate to forensic psychologists, it’s important to understand what it is that a psychiatric-mental health nurse is and does. These nurses are RNs that work with families, communities, individuals, and groups in order to develop a nursing care plan for those who have mental health issues. At the more advanced level, these nurses will often have Master’s degrees and will specialize in psychiatric-mental health nursing. In addition to taking care of the basic needs of the patients, they will also diagnose, access, and provide treatments. Some nurses will go on to earn doctorates.

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What is the American Psychiatric Nurses Association?

The American Psychiatric Nurses Association, or APNA, is an organization of professionals who hope to “advance the science and education of psychiatric-mental health nursing, health, wellness and recovery promotion”. The group is made up of the psychiatric nurses who care for patients who have psychiatric disorders. In some ways, the roles of these nurses are similar to those of a psychologist who is treating the patient.

The APNA is the largest psychiatric mental health nursing organization, and it has more than 30 chapters in the United States and around the world. Currently, it has more than 7,500 psychiatric nurses who are members, and those nurses work in a variety of different settings including clinical, private practice, and the military. There are also some nurses that specialize in the forensic aspect of the job who may work directly with forensic psychologists. The APNA has different levels of membership as well, including memberships for students, practicing professionals, and retired RNs.

Benefits of Membership in the APNA

When nurses become a member of the APNA, they will have a vast network of professionals with whom they can communicate. The Member Bridge section of the APNA website is a social networking tool specifically for members to connect and share information. In addition, members will have access to the monthly newsletter, APNA News: The Psychiatric Nursing Voice, as well at the print and online versions of the Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

Nurses that are members of the APNA will also have access to various educational opportunities through the site, the chances to attend conferences, join a local chapter, apply for grants, and much more. Discounts for a variety of professional and personal items are available as well. Those who are in the field of psychiatric nursing will certainly want to consider becoming a member.

The Connection Between Forensic Psychologists and Psychiatric Nurses

Both of these fields treat and care for patients who have mental illnesses of some type, and it’s easy to see where the overlap can occur. Forensic psychologists may find that they can rely on the psychiatric nurses to give them information about patients and criminals that are in the hospital. The two fields, while they are different, can do quite a bit to complement one another, and learning more about the field and the organization is certainly worth it for most forensic psychologists.

Please visit for more information about the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.


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