Sept. 12 conference to focus on Nebraska's mental health workforce

by Jennifer Bull
August 27, 2018

Image with caption: Michael Rice, Ph.D.

Michael Rice, Ph.D.

The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, are hosting the third annual Psychiatric Nursing Workforce Summit on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Scott Conference Center, 6550 Pine St., Omaha.

The conference, titled "Current & Future Workforce Issues in Education, Practice and Policy," is open to nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and other health professionals or students who are interested in mental/behavioral health.

The conference presentations will focus on the challenges and innovative strategies for development of the psychiatric mental health nursing workforce and the delivery of mental health care. A second focus will be on mental health issues highlighted by the current opioid crisis, including treating pain from a biopsychosocial perspective; using medication assisted treatment for substance misuse; and screening for substance misuse in primary care.

Participants also will discuss evidence-based interventions to promote mental and physical well-being among nurses and other health care providers.

The keynote presenter, Michael Rice, Ph.D., is an international expert on psychiatric mental health education, service delivery and policy. He is currently an endowed chair, professor and co-director of the psychiatric nurse practitioner program at the University of Colorado College of Nursing. Prior to his present position, Dr. Rice was a faculty member at the UNMC College of Nursing.

During his career of 44 years, Dr. Rice has worked in every direct-care role in psychiatric mental health nursing from a student nursing tech to assistant medical director of a community mental health hospital. Dr. Rice has long-standing interest and expertise in developing the psychiatric mental health nursing workforce in the midwest and western states.

"I am excited we are addressing substance misuse as a priority issue," said Heidi Keeler, Ph.D., director of the UNMC Office of Community Engagement, assistant professor and nurse planner for continuing nursing education in the UNMC College of Nursing. "The opioid crisis, as well as all types of misuse and abuse is growing in prevalence. Nurses need to be actively involved in creating solutions within their scope and influence, and support all efforts to address it collaboratively."

Howard Liu, M.D., director of BHECN, said developing Nebraska's psychiatric nursing workforce is of critical importance in addressing behavioral health workforce shortages in the state. "We look forward to sharing strategies and new ideas to advance workforce development in this area," he said.

The agenda and registration is available at https://www.unmc.edu/bhecn/_documents/nursing-summit-20181.pdf. Register online before 5 p.m. on Sept. 4. The cost is $60. Cost for students is $25. Registration day of the event, if space available, is $70.

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