By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief
Nurses—especially those in the ED—often interact with law enforcement in the course of their work. However, few go outside of their setting to get involved in the training of police officers. But that’s exactly what one mental health nurse, Jeannine Loucks, MSN, RN-BC, PMH, did when she noticed that state hospitals were releasing patients with mental illness into the community and felt officers needed more tools in their arsenal in order to handle their potential encounters with these people.
“Officers today have a difficult job managing crime fighting, community relations, and safety,” Loucks said. “They’re also expected to be mediators and therapists.” She wanted to help both the officers and the patients, and so developed a training program not only for the local police, but eventually for people who worked security throughout her city of Orange, California. What started off as a local community initiative eventually grew, and through the use of training videos the program is now being used by police departments throughout her state and is also available by request to departments across the country.
In AJN’s February Profiles column, managing editor Amy M. Collins interviewed Loucks about how and why she created this program. Her goals were simple: “We want the community safe; we want our psychiatric patients treated with dignity and respect; and we want them to be successful in spite of their mental illness.”
To read the full story, click here. (If you’re using a mobile device and the link brings you to the table of contents, scroll down to Profiles. The article is currently free access.)