The Society of Psychiatric 
Advanced Practice Nurses

fostering excellence in professional practice

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Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction:

Recovery Is Possible!

Listen to the Podcasts featuring our own Dr. Laura Leahy


Clinician Toolkit

Patient Tools

NEW: 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

On July 16, 2022,  988 will become the nationwide 3-digit dialing code for crisis and suicide prevention. It will replace the 1-800 number currently used by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. On this date, when someone calls 988 all phones in the U.S. (mobile and landline) will connect with the crisis/suicide prevention system. This will allow anyone in the U.S. to call 988 and get help designed specifically for someone dealing with a mental health crisis.

In an effort to inform as many people as we can about the 988 system in New Jersey, Assistant Commissioner Valerie Mielke of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services has created a 988 presentation that will provide you with an overview. Please click on the link below to watch Assistant Commissioner Mielke's presentation. Should you have questions after you watch this presentation, please write to our direct email address:

Thank you for your interest in 988. DMHAS is eager to begin this new journey in July with all other U.S. States and Territories. We hope Assistant Commissioner Mielke’s presentation will shed some light on the plans for this life-saving system as it evolves in New Jersey. 

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Misinformation Being Distributed by Physician Groups 


NJ Legislators re: APN practice and FPA

Please READ

Pharmacies Refusing to Honor APN's Scripts 

without a collaborating or "supervising" physician's name on the prescription

If you run into this problem while the EO #112 waiver is still in place, please

download and send, hand deliver or have your patient bring to the pharmacy the following letter.   while we continue to work on this.

You may also use and share this link NJDCU to stay up to date.



Emergency Adoption of the Temporary Waiver for APNs is Still in Effect

April 3 2022

The emergency adoption of the temporary waiver for the duration of the state of emergency declared in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as it pertains to APNs:

Rules that require Advanced Practice Nurses licensed in New Jersey to maintain a collaborative agreement with a New Jersey physician in order to prescribe or order medications or devices are still waived concurrent with the end of state of emergency and public health emergency declared pursuant to EO 103, whichever is later. 


The temporary waiver is in effect as long as E.O. #103 is in effect.

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Governor Murphy Signs Important Telehealth Legislation

TRENTON – Dec 22, 2021. Governor Murphy signed legislation (S-2559) that extends for the next two years the requirement adopted at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic that health benefits plans reimburse health care providers for telehealth and telemedicine services at the same rate as in-person services, with limited exceptions. At the same time, the legislation charges the Department of Health with conducting an in-depth study of the utilization of telehealth and telemedicine and its effects on patient outcomes, quality and satisfaction, and access to care in order to inform future decisions on payment structure for these services.  This legislation will provide critical support to patients and providers while the State continues to address the challenges posed by the pandemic, and while the Department of Health evaluates how to best leverage payment and telemedicine to improve access to affordable care and maintain the highest quality of care possible. 


New Fed DHS guidelines for Buprenorphine treatment limited to 30 patients.


Important New Law: New Jersey Health Care Transparency Law

On December 14th Governor Murphy signed S-2465/A-4143 (Sweeney/Conaway), New Jersey Health Care Transparency Act, into law. This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month next following enactment, July 1, 2021. 

The “New Jersey Health Care Transparency Act,” requires any advertisement for a health care professional licensed or certified to practice under State law to include the type of licensure the professional was issued. Advertisement is defined as any situation where a healthcare professional is utilizing a professional degree or license to influence opinion or infer expertise in a health care topic. 

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New Jersey Psychiatric APNs

In Memorium

Professor Shirley Smoyak, A SPAPN Founder and Living Legend

A Founder of SPAPN and Distinguished Professor Shirley Smoyak,86, of Edison, passed away peacefully at home on April 1, 2022. A Psychiatric Nurse, Health Care Sociologist and Professor of Public Health, and a member of the Rutgers University Division of Continuing Studies and the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research. Dr.Smoyak,along with Dr. Lucille Joel was one of the founders of The Society of Psychiatric APNs. 

After earning bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing and a doctorate in sociology, Dr.Smoyak, a protégé of Hildegard Peplau, became a faculty member at Rutgers University. She has taught courses both in nursing and in the social sciences. She has been the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services since 1981. Dr.Smoyak was appointed to oversee reform efforts at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey. 

Dr.Smoyak received the 2011 Award for Distinguished Service from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.[2] She was designated a Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing in 2004. For more information and Obituary please continue 


Covid 19 Pandemic: Mental Health For Nurses

During this unprecedented time of fear and stress, nurses are at high risk for mental health issues like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.  Help is available and you are NOT alone.

Be proactive. If stress, anxiety, fear, rumination or depressed mood is interfering with your functioning:

  • Contact your organization’s EAP (employee assistance program).
  • Explore tele-mental health options through your insurance and contact your healthcare provider for options. Prepare yourself with how to get help before you need it.
  • Participate in mental health screening if offered by your employer and seek support as needed. Do not wait until you are in crisis. 

For Nurses Seeking Mental Health Care from a Psychiatric APN,

please contact us at 877 727 6283

Managing Mental Health During COVID19


Feeling under pressure is a likely experience for you and many of your colleagues. It is quite normal to be feeling this way in the current  situation. Stress and the feelings associated with it are by no means a reflection that you cannot do your job or that you are weak. Managing your mental health and psychosocial well-being during this time is as important as managing your physical health. 

Click HERE to learn more about coping during the pandemic

Caring for Yourself & Others During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Managing Health Care Workers’ Stress 

(The Schwartz Center) Patricia Watson, PhD, of the National Center for PTSD discusses ways that healthcare workers can manage stress — theirs and others’ — as we face the ever-changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.



It  is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the time of COVID19. It has been months since we first started Social Distancing and it is beginning to get to people emotionally. Emotions such as anger, boredom, irritability, grumpiness, disappointment, weepiness and even fear are common emotions during times of stress. Very often we don’t know what we are feeling, just that we are out of sorts and we can get caught up in the feeling or try to shut it down. Feelings are a part of being a human being. We all have them. Acting out or pushing away these emotions usually creates tension within ourselves and then we frequently blame others, yell, get depressed, feel anxious or may be even suicidal. These times have brought up the awareness that we don’t have control.

Click HERE to learn more about how to help yourself and your family to cope in these stressful times.

Veterans Suicide Awareness 

Senator Michael Doherty (R-23) is working to raise awareness of 
the risks to and help for our Veterans during this stressful time. 

"The psychological and economic consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to be devastating for many, further exacerbating risk factors for mental health related morbidity and mortality for our veteran community," said Doherty (R-23). 

"This unprecedented crisis is a stressor for vulnerable veterans with mental health issues. COVID has the potential to worsen their overall health and put them at higher risk for suicide and other adverse outcomes, as well as for veterans who have no previous history of mental illness. Tragically, women veterans are 250% more likely to commit suicide than civilian women.     

"If you are a veteran experiencing emotional distress, please call the Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 and press 1," added Doherty. "If you are the family member or friend of a veteran, reach out to them during this time of social distancing. We can help heighten awareness and prevent the unthinkable for our veterans and their families."


Recipients' of UVA's Bjoring's History Center Nurse Practitioner History Research Scholar Award (2019), this fascinating documentary chronicles nursing leaders from New Jersey as they recall the long road to the passage of the first state Nurse Practitioner/Clinical Nurse Specialist bill, which granted these providers legal titling and prescriptive authority. While many nurses contributed to the earliest advanced practice policy initiatives in NJ, nine participants were selected based on their distinctive key roles in this story and six participated. Members can view the award winning documentary HERE

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Telehealth Update

License Renewals


 Mandatory BON CE End of Life requirement

can be met online

End Of Life Care


The Division of Consumer Affairs (Division) is warning all licensed professionals about individuals impersonating New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) investigators, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents, DEA investigators, New Jersey Drug Control Unit investigators, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigators, and other law enforcement personnel, as part of an extortion scheme.

The impersonators are contacting licensees by telephone, stating that they are the subject of an  investigation.  The callers are demanding money to clear up the matter, or threatening to revoke the individual’s license.   Please be advised that the Division of Consumer Affairs will not contact licensees by telephone to discuss investigations or demand money.

Anyone receiving a telephone call from a person purporting to be any of the abovementioned individuals seeking money, should refuse the demand.  We encourage you to report the call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at  You may also report the call to the Division at    READ MORE

Nurse Practitioners & PAs Prescribing Buprenorphine

Section 303 of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), signed into law by President Obama on July 22, 2016, made several changes to the law regarding office-based opioid addiction treatment with buprenorphine. CARA expands prescribing privileges to nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) for five years (until October 1, 2021). NPs and PAs must complete 24 hours of training to be eligible for a waiver to prescribe and must be supervised by or work in collaboration with a qualifying physician if required by state law. The HHS Secretary has 18 months to issue updated regulations governing office-based opioid addiction treatment to include NPs and PAs.ASAM's complete summary of CARA is available here.

Opiod Abuse Prevention

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: For Advance Practice Nurses Licensed by the Board of Nursing. State law makes it unlawful for a prescriber to issue an initial prescription for acute pain for more than a five-day supply. In addition, the dosage authorized by initial prescriptions for acute pain is to be limited to the lowest effective dose of an immediate–release opioid drug. To better understand how to comply with this limitation and other rule changes, the Board offers the following guidance.

Opioid Abuse Prevention

Click here to find a summary of the rules pertaining to the prescribing of Controlled Dangerous Substances ("CDS") in New Jersey and the requirements relating to when, and in what circumstances, prescribers must access the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program. This handy 2-page guide reflects:

  • The generally applicable rules.
  • The waivers of certain in-person examination requirements relating to the prescribing of CDS and the authorization of medical marijuana, allowing the use of telemedicine during the current public health emergency, as set forth in Administrative Order 2020-15 (DCA AO-2020-15).
  • The requirement to co-prescribe naloxone to chronic patients obtaining 90 MMEs or more of opioids or the concurrent prescription of an opioid and a benzodiazepine, as set forth in Administrative Order 2020-08 (DCA AO-2020-08). (See FAQs)

                                    What is an APN?

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The Society of Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurses

Founded in 1972, SPAPN was the first professional nursing body in the country to certify clinical nurse specialists in psychiatric nursing. Today, the Society includes all psychiatric advanced practice nurses, both psychiatric nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists in advanced practice nursing. The Society continues to advocate and lobby for psychiatric advanced practice nurses in practicing to the fullest scope of their training and education, upholding the standards of excellence for psychiatric mental-health nursing and to promote the delivery of high quality professional care to clients, their families and the community.

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Society of Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurses

Tel/Fax: (877) 727-6283

759 Bloomfield Avenue Suite 205 

West Caldwell, NJ 07006
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