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From the Editor

Welcome, advanced practice psychiatric nurses

Vol. 4, No. 1 / January 2005

Starting with this issue, Current Psychiatry is being sent to more than 3,000 advanced practice psychiatric nurses, who join the 37,000 psychiatrists who already receive it. The same “news you can use” that has made Current Psychiatry the most highly read journal among psychiatrists should help psychiatric nurses as well.

Advanced practice nurses have prescriptive authority in 49 states, and many prescribe on their own signatures. Laws governing their prescribing vary from state to state, as do their titles, including nurse practitioner (NP), clinical nurse specialist (CNS), advanced practitioner of nursing (APN), and perhaps a dozen others. All are registered nurses who have completed the additional graduate-level education and training required to diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders. [For more information, see the special report, “The Role of Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses,” at]

In the past, organized psychiatry has systematically opposed nurses prescribing, and I believe that opposition was a bad thing. Nurses and physicians have been partners in caring for patients with mental illness for more than a century. We are members of distinct health professions but share the same goal: to ensure that our patients receive the best care.

Both professional groups have the necessary biologically-based training to appropriately prescribe the wonderful—and potentially dangerous—medications used in psychiatric practice. Both groups are committed to a program of lifelong learning, and both need unbiased, clinically relevant sources of therapeutic information—such as Current Psychiatry.

We are all in this together. Welcome, welcome.

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