”Why I Joined ISPN”



Susan Lee Benson, DNP, PMHCNS/FNP-BC

It's a tough job being a nurse who engages with brain disordered people.  It's made easier with alliances with affirming colleagues around the world who share the same values and are willing to share their expertise and experience of change.

~ Susan Lee Benson, DNP, PMHCNS/FNP-BC




I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner and a social and health psychologist.  I have been engaged in the mental health field for approximately 25 years.  I have been a part of large organizations focused on mental or behavioral health, including the American Psychological Association, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the American Association of Psychiatric Nurses, and the International Society of Psychiatric Nurses (ISPN). ISPN the most unique and personally rewarding organization with which I hold membership.  ISPN is what we refer to as a niche organization, as it focuses on Advanced Practice Psychiatric-Mental Health nursing, internationally. As a result, our organization is tight-knit, purposeful, and powerful.  Advanced practice psychiatric and mental health nurses have a laser sharp focus on providing care for all populations of mental health consumers, including those who are underserved, those in remote or rural locations, and those from diverse populations (e.g., racial/ethnic minority groups, LGBTQIA groups, veterans, children and adolescents, and older adults). It is completely amazing to work with fellow ISPN members each year to focus on education, research, and practice issues that can improve mental healthcare for individuals, families, and communities.  We prioritize advances in psychopharmacology and psychotherapy to provide quality care and education.  In addition, we value best practices for integrating mental health care, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and primary care. The members of ISPN lift up one another and provide excellent opportunities for leadership and professional development. Our IMIN program is designed to continue the pipeline of nurses who pursue careers and leadership in psychiatric nursing.  We focus on the latest evidence-based practices and research methods to improve outcomes for our consumers, practitioners, and educators.  I personally have had the opportunity to serve in leadership roles in ISPN.   Through this, I have developed strong and trusted relationships with my colleagues and friends in psychiatric nursing.  There is so much that can be done by such a mighty group through continued support.  Our impact can be felt across the nation in the United States and across the globe through our members who live all over the world and will only grow with additional support and resources.   I plan to be a lifelong member of this exceptional organization. I will do all that I can to continue to support its growth and to solicit support from generous individuals and groups who are as passionate about advancing mental health around the world as we are!

~ Cheryl Woods Giscombe, PhD, RN, PMHNP-BC, FAAN



Barbie Frechette, DNP, PMHNP

I have found the annual ISPN conferences extremely valuable. The plenary sessions they  provide touch upon relevant topics that enhance my role as an educator and clinician.  In addition, I have found the organization has helped me experience a sense of camaraderie with my peers. I look forward to continuing the supportive mentoring and networking that ISPN provides.

~ Barbie Frechette, DNP, PMHNP




Holly Hillburn, MS, RN, PMHNP-BC

The International Society for Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses has played a vital role in my successful transition from a masters student to an independent psychiatric nurse practitioner. Through membership, I have gained a supportive network of experienced advanced practice psychiatric nurses who have provided me with mentorship and encouragement. ISPN has been an invaluable resource and continuously enriches my clinical practice.

~ Holly Hillburn, MS, RN, PMHNP-BC





ISPN's visionary soul embraces personal and professional growth through the celebration of relationships, relational skills and collective humanity. Let us never neglect our relational rootedness. In facing contemporary harsh demands, let us progress forward, nurturing and leading all with whom we have to do; large and small, individuals, communities and cultures.  "Let's bring soul to the whole of society!" Thomas Moore

~ Dr. Kathleen McCoy, PMHNP/CNS/FNP-BC FAANP