The Society of Psychiatric 
Advanced Practice Nurses

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Society of Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurses

Awards of Excellence

Shrewsbury, NJ April 4th, 2014

Each year The Society of Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurses celebrates Psychiatric APNs, colleagues, community leaders and residents who inspire us with their excellence in leadership, advocacy and dedication to our profession and in serving persons with mental illness and addiction disorders. This year we were pleased to recognize two very deserving individuals for achievement and advocacy at our Annual Awards Dinner at the Shadowbrook Country Club.

Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award

Over the course of her career, Susan Simmons-Alling, MSN, APN-C has been a leader, mentor, and advocate who has had a true impact on her profession and the people she has served. Early in her professional life as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, she held a vision that Psych Mental Health Advanced Practice Nurses should be able to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training. This included both psychotherapy and prescriptive practice, as indicated. As such, she lectured extensively on psychopharmacology, despite the fact that New Jersey APNs did not have prescriptive privilege at the time.

With two of her colleagues spearheading an initiative to integrate neuroscience and psychopharmacology, Susan chaired the First Annual Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute (CPI) in 2002 for over 200 participants. The Annual Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute continues today, in its 14th year, with over 500 participants.  

Susan has held many positions within the Society of Psychiatric APNs, including the Nominating Committee, Awards Committee, Professional Education Day Committee, and served as Co-Chair of the Task Force for Society Business & Development Planning.  On the National level, Susan has held multiple positions within the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, including Nominating Committee, Member-at-Large, Chair of Clinical Psychopharmacology Institute, and various other Committees, Task Forces, Councils, and roles within the New Jersey Chapter of APNA.

Despite her various roles in State and National organizations, Susan has maintained a private clinical and consultation practice treating adults and specializing in the neurobiology of major psychiatric illnesses, affective disorders, and women’s mental health issues.  She has also lectured on the local, state, and national levels on various clinical topics pertaining to mental illness as well as the neurobiology of psychiatric illness and its relationship to the prescribing of psychotropic medications.

As a Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurse, Susan has exemplified the roles of nursing leader, patient advocate, clinical mentor and professional colleague. She retired this year, leaving a legacy of hope and inspiration and was duly awarded the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Advocate of the Year Award:

Nicolle DeLuca, MS, LPC, NCC is a loyal patient advocate. She has spent all 13 years of her professional career addressing the needs of those with chronic and persistent mental illness.

As Program Director for a busy partial care program in Pennsauken, NJ, Nicolle tirelessly assures that patients with chronic mental illness have access to the best possible medical and psychiatric services. Through her dynamic leadership, she has mentored and developed a team of caring and compassionate case managers who are truly dedicated to addressing the mental health needs of over 200 patients.

Nicolle is both highly dedicated and resourceful, always advocating and working on behalf of those who are often disenfranchised and lacking support.  She skillfully engages clients and their families to fully participate in treatment, which is evidenced by positive patient outcomes and the longevity of many clients who have participated in her program for years.

Her ability to collaborate with other community agencies has not only earned her a stellar reputation as a dedicated advocate among patients, their families, and staff, but also among healthcare professionals in southern New Jersey. 

Nicolle is a committed professional in the field of mental health care.  She is a true community leader and an outstanding patient advocate for which she deservedly received the 2014 Advocate of the Year Award.





Society of Psychiatric Advanced Practice Nurses

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West Caldwell, NJ 07006
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