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Published on September 22, 2017

Pardee UNC Health Care Nurses to Speak at American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) Annual Conference in October

Three Pardee UNC Health Care nurses will speak at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 31st Annual Conference Oct. 18 to 21 in Phoenix, Arizona. Erin Fitzpatrick, MSN, RN-BC, a behavioral health nurse educator, will present on identifying early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal to prevent the onset of delirium tremens. Bridget Barron, BSN, RN-BC, nursing service director of PATHS (Psychiatric & Addictions Therapeutic Healing Services), and Mike Cavacos, MSN, CCC, CCRN, NE-BC, director of Emergency Services/Intensive & Progressive Care, will present on improving collaboration between emergency departments and behavioral health units for positive patient outcomes.

“Hospitals, particularly emergency departments, are often safety net providers for people in behavioral health crises,” said Barron. “At Pardee, our behavioral health team worked with the emergency department team to reduce stigmas surrounding behavioral health conditions and to train ED staff to quickly recognize signs of psychiatric conditions and addictions. By improving communication and collaboration between the ED staff and behavioral health team, we have seen improved patient and staff satisfaction.”

“It is crucial for members of the health care team to recognize the early symptoms of alcohol withdrawal to prevent patients from experiencing severe and potentially fatal alcohol withdrawal symptoms,” said Fitzpatrick. “I am excited to present the interventions we have used at Pardee to reduce the number of patients transferred to intensive care for severe alcohol withdrawal by 80 percent.”

The APNA Annual Conference delivers 100+ varied continuing education sessions and networking opportunities to the 1,600+ psychiatric-mental health RNs and APRNs who attend each year. Attendees have the opportunity to earn 26.25 CNE contact hours onsite and an additional 100+ contact hours online. To learn more, visit