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Page 4 • ANA\C The Nursing Voice

April, May, June 2010

Nurses in the News

President Receives CNS Award

Elissa Brown, President, ANA\California is the recipient of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists “CNS of the Year” award. This award is in recognition of her “excellence in psychiatric-mental health nursing practice and her professional leadership within the healthcare system and statewide.” She will receive the award at the annual National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialist Conference at their awards luncheon in March, in Portland, Oregon.

Below is the rest of the bio given to our VA. Elissa Brown is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Mental Health at VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. Elissa has been in the VA system since 1975 and is truly dedicated to providing high quality care to our veteran patients and their families. She worked at Sepulveda VA for over 21 years before splitting her time between West Los Angeles and Sepulveda for the past 9 years or so. She has worked at the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, Northwestern and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and Barnes Hospitals in St. Louis. She received her BSN from the University of Illinois College of Nursing in Chicago, and her MSN as a CNS in Adult Psychiatric Nursing from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, minoring in Education and Administration, with Academic and Final Honors.

In her over 40 years in Nursing, she has worked mostly as a CNS, as a Psychiatry Consultation Liaison Nurse, and has held staff nurse, head nurse and educator positions. While working

full time as a clinician, she also taught at Loyola University, Chicago, St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, and at various schools of nursing in L.A.

Her subspecialty is Geropsychiatry; she helped open the Sepulveda VA Geropsychiatry Outpatient and Inpatient programs over 27 years ago. Since then she has facilitated ongoing Caregiver Support Groups, and is a longtime member of the Los Angeles Alzheimer’s Association Support Group Committee. Elissa’s patients include Geropsychiatry patients as well as patients at high risk for suicide and violence.

Ms. Brown has been a Chair or Co-Chair of APRN groups for many years, and is currently Co-Chair of the APRN Review Board. She is the Co-Chair of the GLA Ethics Advisory Committee, the Chair of the Ethics Education Committee, and the Chair of the Mental Health Environment of Care\Safety Committee.

She is on a number of program planning committees for the VA, including those for an annual Hospice and Palliative Care Program, Ethics programs, and APRN programs. She was appointed to the National APN Liaison Committee as the VISN 22 alternate, and served on the planning committees for the joint National and VISN 22 APRN Conference in 2009, and is on the Planning Committee for the 2011 National VA APRN Conference. She is Vice-President of the Ethics of Caring, which presents a yearly program for the community. In addition, Ms. Brown teaches at work and in the community.

Elissa is very busy as the President of the American Nurses Association\California. She is also active in other

professional organizations including ANA, APNA California, APNA, NOVA, and Sigma Theta Tau and and the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists. Elissa is President of the California Association of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses in Advanced Practice (CAPNAP), an Affiliate of the American Nurses Association\California (ANA\C). CAPNAP convened and facilitate the APRN Summit in California and are developing a White Paper on APRN practice in California.

She is the recipient of numerous awards including: NurseWeek Magazine one of 10 “Outstanding California Nurses of 1992;” the VA Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Nursing for Advanced Practice Nurse at GLA, and the Department of Veterans Affairs Service Director’s Award in Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, August, 1992, Sigma Theta Tau Gamma Tau Chapter Leadership Award, the University of Illinois, Nursing Alumni Loyalty Award and Distinguished Service Award and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Award for Excellence in Practice, Advanced.

Elissa is an animal lover, has a dog; loves to read. She and her husband are married for 38 years and she has managed to convert her baking recipes to “vegan”—since her husband is a vegan chef (among other interests)! They love movies, TV, travelling, and most of all—their young granddaughter!!! Their son and daughter-in-law live close by, so they spend much quality time with all of them.

Elissa collects “chickens” (not live ones). Even a “rocking chicken” for their granddaughter.

ANA\C Board of Director Wins AORN National Award

Wilkinson Receives Psychiatric Nurses Association Award for Excellence in Advanced Practice

Monica Weisbrich,


Board wins

of the

Director-Legislative Association of

periOperative Nurses Award for State Council Leadership (The Operating Room Nursing Council of California-ORNCC). Weisbrich was nominated by colleagues grateful for her leadership in developing and growing the ORNCC. Monica will receive her award at the AORN Convention to be held in Denver March 13-17, 2010

Monica Weisbrich

Grow with us!

The need for home health and hospice services continues to grow… and so do we! Employees choose us not only for our longevity in the industry, but also because they can build the career they’ve always wanted — one that provides flexible scheduling, the ability to work independently, and the opportunity to work more closely with patients and families.

AseraCare Hospice has full-time and PRN openings in Concord, Fresno and Stockton.

Registered Nurse

Forward your resume to fax 479-478-2173 or robin.brown@aseracare.com


One of our long time members, Ann Wilkinson, received the most recent American Psychiatric Nurses Association Award for Excellence in Advanced Practice. She is a well-respected colleague in the Nursing community. She was one of the first ANA Certified nurses (psych generalist in ‘74 and CS since 1980, ANA member

since 1969.)

is psychodynamic Ann a Ann Wilkinson psychotherapist and teacher of a wide range of psychiatric and mental health professionals. She is a clinician, a writer and editor, and a family woman. She also is an advanced stage ovarian cancer patient.

Along with her clinical practice, Ann supervises advanced psychiatric residents’ psychotherapy and teaches assessment and therapeutic interviewing. These communication skills, Ann says, are the basis of good nursing. We nurses use ourselves as therapeutic tools in all settings.

“Mostly, for the past 30 years,” she says, “my residents start out thinking of me as a physician, but once they realize that I am a nurse, those docs walk out of their program convinced that nurses have serious knowledge and serious skills... We deserve respect. They leave knowing nurses as equal professionals.”

Ann wasn’t sure why other nurses would be interested in honoring her rather unusual role, working as a therapist in private practice and as a teacher of doctors. Why would other nurses be interested? was her reasoning. Her psychiatrist husband, however, told her, “It’s really about the nurses’ seeing a role model who’s taken seriously, who can accept the award, and they can say, ‘That person represents me.’ ”

Other nurses, who have participated in Ann’s own cancer care, were very enthused when they heard of her award. Cancer nurses at the infusion center got so excited, they asked her to bring the plaque for them to see. Many staff nurses as well as newly-minted advanced practice nurses asked, ‘Can I touch it?’ “They found it so affirming for themselves, that I got some of [the affirmation] too. It was fun.”

She went without chemo in October to go to the APNA conference to receive her award. She’s gone without chemo to enjoy the holidays in the face of a blood-count-as-grinch. “Nobody could replicate the incredible privilege this time has been, wandering down the last path.” Ann considers herself enormously lucky to have had so many months to openly grieve with family and friends. And in closing her therapy practice, she has had to delve deep. “What’s allowed [with patients]? What’s helpful for patients? There’s no literature on therapy with the dying therapist. What I did for my patients was to give them space to grieve with me,” she said recently. “It has all been a profound privilege.”

Anita Catlin serves California on ANA Council on Ethics and Human Rights

Since 2006, Dr. Anita Catlin has been ANA California’s representative to the Ethics Advisory Board of the ANA. This 10 member board is responsible for writing position statements relating to the Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses. The Board consists of nurses throughout the United States including the US Military who

work to provide ethical guidance Anita Catlin for nurses. Each recruited member has a degree or certificate in Bioethics training. There are two paid staff members, Laurie Badzek, RN, JD, Chair, and retired Air Force Colonel Martha Turner, Assistant Director. Members are volunteers nominated by their state or federal ANA organization. In the past four years, Catlin has been assigned to topics of special interest to her. She has been a co-writer of the new paper on Care at the End of Life, and is working on the pamphlet Nursing Response to Women who Test Positive for Substances while Pregnant or Breastfeeding.

interviews of stakeholders, opinions from nurse experts in the field, and much dialogue between sub committee members. Catlin reports that she has “loved working with Cynthia LaSala (Massachusetts), Kevin Hook (Philadelphia), and Dr. Sue Dickey (Philadelphia) on the end of life paper. They are dedicated and close colleagues.” The nurses serving on the ANA Ethics Board speak by email and telephone throughout the year, and meet once a year in coordination with the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH). Catlin originally served as President of the Nurses SubSection of the ASBH, and then moved to the ANA Council. Catlin teaches ethics to master’s students at Sonoma State University. She co-chairs the Ethics Committee at Kaiser Santa Rosa. She consults for hospitals throughout the United States and abroad and has written extensively in the field of perinatal ethics. California ANA members should feel free to contact her with questions of an ethical nature at acatlin@napanet.net. Catlin is presently working on questions regarding patients who refuse therapies ordered in the hospital, ranging from confused elders to young adults with anorexia. An ANA position paper on the Nurses Response to Patients Refusing Nursing Care should be forthcoming.

Equal Opportunity Employer. Drug-Free Workplace. AHR-03995-09

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