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Hawai‘i CC Nursing Instructor Receives National Recognition

September 2, 2017, 12:30 PM HST
* Updated September 2, 12:19 PM
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Hawai‘i Community College nursing instructor Cheryl Puntil. Courtesy photo.

Hawai‘i Community College nursing instructor Cheryl Puntil is the 2017 recipient of the Award for Distinguished Service from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA).

Puntil will be recognized for her commitment, initiative, loyalty, integrity and exceptional service at the 31st Annual National APNA Conference in Phoenix, Arizona on Oct. 18, 2017.

With more than 10,000 members, APNA is the largest professional membership organization committed to the specialty practice of psychiatric mental health, nursing and wellness promotion, prevention of mental health problems and the care and treatment of persons with psychiatric disorders.

Puntil and several APNA colleagues worked on the APNA essential suicide competencies for nurse assessment and management of individuals at risk for suicide.

“Through Cheryl’s vision, determination and perseverance, the APNA suicide competencies initiative became a reality and addresses both a major national public health problem and gap in nursing education,” said Puntil’s colleagues.

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“It is an incredible honor to receive the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Award for Distinguished Service,” said Puntil. “I followed my passion and was lucky to find awesome mentors who paved the way for me to assist in establishing competencies that will change nursing practice and improve care for those at risk for suicide. I was very surprised and grateful for the acknowledgment from my esteemed colleagues who nominated me and to the APNA board for voting on my behalf to receive the award.”

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Puntil received her Bachelor’s of Science in nursing from the College of Saint Teresa and her Master’s of Science in nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is certified as an advanced practice registered nurse and a psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist.

In addition, Puntil and Hawai’i CC Mental Health Therapist Kate De Soto were invited by UH Hilo Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Farrah-Marie Gomes to serve on the UH Suicide Prevention Committee.

The college will participate in National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with tabling events, sign making and sign waving on Sept. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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“The goal is to bring awareness to the issue of suicidality and enhance prevention efforts,” said De Soto. “We want to reduce the stigma of depression and suicidal thoughts so people have fewer barriers to seeking help. The more we show support as a community, the more people are likely to speak up and the more people are likely to know what to do if someone does speak up.”

Students seeking services from the Mental Wellness and Personal Development office can contact De Soto at (808) 934-2706 and [email protected]

 

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