Nikki Behner, DNP, MPH, ARNP
Volunteer of the Year
The Volunteer of the Year Award honors an AAPPN member who makes a difference to the organization.
Nikki’s extraordinary contributions to the AAPPN Legislative Committee have been essential to the committee’s success. She is a vital member of AAPPN and is being honored for her humble service to the association. The AAPPN is proud to announce Nikki Behner as the 2021 Volunteer of the Year Award recipient.
Nikki’s dedication and contributions to the Legislative Committee’s efforts are an inspiration to us all. Her deep commitment to the committee’s cause contributed to the successful review of countless bills during the legislative session. The committee relied on her work summarizing the content of numerous bills for committee member review and discuss each week, which resulted in successful meetings.
In addition to her service as a member of the Legislative Committee, Nikki is the AAPPN Board Secretary and started the Snohomish County Chapter, as Co-Chair, in 2018.
You have worked with a diverse population in various settings, what are some of challenges and rewards unique to your practice?
I have been fortunate to work in a variety of settings that allowed me to come to appreciate the unique presentations of people who are not from my cultural background.
Most recently, I have been working closely with Native Americans in tribal clinics and have had referrals from those clients to my private office. The most rewarding aspect of this relationship is that I am now being accepted by clients who were previously very guarded about disclosing problems. They teach me with every encounter.
What have been the biggest rewards of your career?
My longstanding connections to the nurses and medical staff that I have worked with over my 30+ year nursing career. I am also so very proud to continue to work with clients who started with me over 10 years ago and have followed me to various clinical sites.
I have worked with clients through major life events and I feel privileged to have helped them through so many transitions as a stable person that they can depend on for support when facing challenges.
What would you tell a person just starting a career as a psych NP?
The most important things a practitioner can bring to a relationship are honesty, dependability, and acceptance of the client’s situation. Not always having the right answer, or the right solution on the first try is expected in this type of work. The client knowing that you are trying to help is what makes the interaction beneficial to you both.
How have you seen the profession change over the years?
The profession has shifted to more of a business model than a consistency or continuity of care model. I have observed more separation of medical and psychiatric nursing to individual specialty practices and would like to see a return of more holistic nursing to our advanced psychiatric nursing practices.
What role has AAPPN played in your career and for the profession?
AAPPN has given me a voice to communicate and share with my peers in a variety of forums. I have particularly appreciated being on the Legislative Committee which keeps me informed and involved in matters that affect all of nursing.
I believe that it is important for nurses to belong to multiple professional organizations that support their practice. If I had not been awarded a small scholarship to purchase textbooks when I was struggling to get my initial AA degree in the distant past, I would not be here today. That experience showed me the value of being connected with professional organizations and the support available for those who join and take advantage of all the opportunities provided.