Dr. Kristen Bomboy, right, at the American Psychiatric Nurses Association’s annual conference in Long Beach, California, with fellow OCU nursing professor Dr. Cene’ Livingston. Photo provided.

Story Van Mitchell, Staff Writer

Kristen Bomboy, DNP, MSN, APRN-CNP, PMHNP, Clinical Instructor, PMHNP track, Oklahoma City University School of Nursing, was recently awarded the Excellence In Practice award from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA).
The award was presented at the organization’s annual conference in Long Beach, Calif.
The APNA Award for Excellence in Practice – APRN-PMH recognizes an APNA APRN-PMH member who has made significant contributions to psychiatric-mental health nursing practice. The individual must have been a member of APNA for at least two years.
The criteria for the award include:
*Demonstrates excellence in psychiatric-mental health nursing. This individual serves as a clinical role model for other nurses by making tangible contributions to the enhancement of nursing practice and client outcomes. (story continues below)

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*Shows evidence of making significant enhancements, refinements or unique contributions to the delivery of psychiatric-mental health nursing care.
*Demonstrates excellence in working with individuals/families/communities.
*Shows evidence of being an influential role model to other psychiatric-mental health nurses in the delivery of quality nursing care.
*Shows evidence of having disseminated innovative clinical knowledge to families, communities, organizations and/or professional colleagues.
“This is a national award, people from across the country were being considered for the award. I was notified in June that I would be the recipient in 2022,” she said. “It is very humbling to be recognized. To me, it is just being a good steward of our profession and providing the highest quality care possible to our patients.”
Dr. Bomboy is part-time clinical faculty for Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice program. She was instrumental in supporting the development of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track, which was the first PMH-NP program in the state.
She has been an advanced practice nurse in mental health since 1999. Her background includes working with the severely mentally ill and providing community mental health center-based care.
She received the DNP degree in 2018 from Wilmington University; Post-Masters Certificate- Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner from Rush University in 2009; Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999; and Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1998 from the University of Delaware.
Dr. Bomboy said she felt a calling to serve in the psychiatric nurse arena.
“It felt like I could make a difference in psychiatry more so than in the other nursing fields I had been exposed to during undergrad” she said.
Dr. Bomboy is still in practice as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner for Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Centers four days a week, and OCU one day a week.
Lighthouse Behavioral Wellness Centers works with adults, children, and families to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of mental illness and/or substance abuse.
Lighthouse is the designated Community Mental Health Center for nine counties in Southern Oklahoma (Bryan, Carter, Garvin, Johnston, Love, Pontotoc, Marshall, Murray, and Seminole counties).
Lighthouse offers an array of services to treat most behavioral health conditions. Services include individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, individual rehabilitation, case management, wellness, medication management. They also offer systems of care/wraparound services to children and families.
Dr. Bomboy said she is blessed to work for two great organizations.
“I work with a wonderful group of professionals at Lighthouse, as well as Oklahoma City University,” she said. “Lighthouse is passionate about providing care to underserved communities and is supportive of nurses. Oklahoma City University is passionate about educating nurses from undergraduate to graduate degree programs.”
Dr. Bomboy said careers in psychiatric nursing have become more accepted.
“It (psychiatric nursing) has become a more acceptable career path,” she said. Dr Bomboy elaborates that careers in psychiatric nursing have expanded and become more autonomous and accepted with other clinical disciplines. She states that more nurses choose the mental health field with the realization it demonstrates nursing science. Psychiatric nurses have a unique skill set in the provision of care to a vulnerable population.
Dr. Bomboy said there is a need state-wide for psychiatric nurses.
“There continues to be an imbalance in the nursing workforce because there is a shortage of graduating nurses,” she said. “COVID impacted the number of nurses who opted to stay working within the hospital setting. Our hospitals are facing shortages of all types of nursing staff, psychiatric nursing isn’t immune to that.”
Dr. Bomboy relates she enjoys working with students to develop the skills needed to be successful in the field and providing mentorship to new Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners.
She states she enjoys promoting the profession, to better increase the number of psychiatric nurse practitioners in our community, and is hopeful the graduates will remain in Oklahoma, where the need is so great.
“My passion is to improve patient access to care and keep patients actively engaged in their care – that’s what drives me forward,” she said. “As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, it is rewarding to work with patients and their families to reach their goal of reducing how mental illness impacts their lives.”