ISPN History

The History of ISPN

The International Society of Psychiatric - Mental Health Nurses (ISPN) was officially inaugurated in 1999 at the First Annual ISPN Conference in Baltimore, MD. The forming of the organization was member initiated and facilitated by the leadership of the three participating professional psychiatric nursing organizations.

In the 1990's, four psychiatric nursing organizations existed, each with its own dues, annual conference and governance. In 1995, the groups and their respective presidents were the Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nurses (ACAPN), President Elizabeth Bonham; International Society of Psychiatric Consultation - Liaison Nurses (ISPCLN), President Susan Krupnick; the Society for Education and Research in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing (SERPN), President Melva Jo Hendrix, and the American Psychiatric Nurse Association (APNA), President Nancy Valentine.

National communications began in 1996. As negotiations continued for two years, new members were added to the planning group. They included Linda Finke, Peggy Dulaney, Lorna Mill Barrell, Marjorie Chisholm, and Gretchen La Godna. It was at one of the national planning meetings in Washington, DC that the group received news that our beloved colleague and mentor, Melva Jo Hendrix, had passed away after her valiant battle with breast cancer. In turn, the prestigious Melva Jo Hendrix Lectureship Award was established in 2000 in her honor to celebrate her extraordinary leadership and lifetime contributions to psychiatric - mental health nursing, her unswerving commitment to improving care for the underserved; and her dedication to mentoring others.

ISPN Founding Directors appointed equal number of members from each Division to working committees on Structure and Governance, Nominations, and Bylaws to create an international psychiatric nursing organization. The resulting ISPN purpose is to unite and strengthen the presence and voice of specialty psychiatric-mental health nurses; promote equitable quality care for individuals and families with mental health problems; enhance the ability of psychiatric-mental health nurses to work collaboratively on issues facing the profession; provide expanded opportunities for networking and leadership development; and impact healthcare policy to facilitate effective use of human and financial resources.

Past Presidents include Susan Krupnick (1999-2001), Linda Finke (2001-2003), Lynette Jack (2003-2005), Susan McCabe (2005-2006), Geraldine Pearson and Mary Jo Regan-Kubinski (Co-Presidents 2006-2007), and Geraldine Pearson (2007-2009). ISPN milestones include the addition of a fourth Division, the Adult Geriatric Psychiatric Nursing Division (2002), the ISPN Foundation (2002), and the establishment of the Annual Psychopharmacology Institute (2008).

Compiled and written by Elizabeth Bonham;  Reviewed by Susan Krupnick, 2010

History of ISPN Divisions

  • ACAPN - Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nurses (PDF)
  • AGPN - Adult and Geropsychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (PDF)
  • ISPCLN - The International Society of Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Nurses (PDF)
  • SERPN - Society for Education and Research in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing (PDF)

History of ISPN Councils

ISPN Past Presidents 

  • Susan Krupnick (1999-2001)
  • Linda Finke (2001-2003)
  • Lynette Jack (2003-2005)
  • Susan McCabe (2005-2006)
  • Geraldine Pearson and Mary Jo Regan-Kubinski (Co-Presidents 2006-2007)
  • Geraldine Pearson (2007-2009)
  • Kathleen Delaney (2009-2010)
  • Victoria Soltis-Jarrett (2010-2013)
  • Evelyn Parrish (2013-2014)
  • Sara Horton-Deutsch (2014-2015)
  • Elizabeth Bonham (2015-2016)
  • Edilma Yearwood (2016-2017)
  • Rene Love (2017-2018)
  • Steven Pryjmachuk (2018-2019)
  • Vicki Hines-Martin (2019-2020)
  • Deborah Johnson (2020-2021)
  • Cheryl Woods Giscombe (2021-2022)
  • Ukamaka Oruche (2022-2023)