Anita Thompson Heisterman, MSN, APRN, PMHCNC-BC, PMHNP-BC

Assistant Professor
Assistant Chair, Family Community and Mental Health Systems
Assistant Director for Undergraduate Global Initiatives
University of Virginia School of Nursing
CMNEB 2016, P.O. Box 800826
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0826

Phone: 434-924-0136

Anita Amelia Thompson Heisterman MSN, APRN,  PMHCNS-BC, PMHNP- BC is an Assistant Professor of Nursing, Assistant Department Chair for Family, Community, and Mental Health Services and Assistant Director for Undergraduate Global Initiatives at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. She is an Associate of the Center for Appreciative Practice and the Center for Compassionate Care and a Faculty Fellow in the Center for Global Health,    She teaches psychiatric mental health nursing and clinical and communication skills across undergraduate, graduate and post graduate programs, lectures in her subspecialty of geriatric mental health, and authored a recent chapter on integrative treatment of cognitive disorders for an advanced practice psychiatric nursing textbook. She redesigned an undergraduate nursing core course to incorporate self- care, resilience practices, and enhanced interpersonal and group communication skills. She received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Virginia School of Nursing Alumni Association in 2013 and was selected by the American Psychiatric Nurses Association as one of the top 15 teachers of  Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner programs in 2015.

Anita has extensive psychiatric and community health nursing experience. The formative years of her career were spent immersed in the therapeutic community model where she studied group dynamics and learned the power of leveraging the wisdom of the group to create shared solutions to community problems. She used these approaches in the provision of mental health services with under-resourced individuals and families in public housing, in rural communities and in community mental health centers. She participated in federal and state policy formulation regarding rural elderly and families of persons with mental illness through the Southeastern Rural Mental Health Center. 

Anita has authored or coauthored 11 chapters and 9 journal articles and has presented numerous papers and posters at national and international conferences. She has participated in several funded research projects. Her work on the use of red filter flashlights to promote sleep on an inpatient psychiatric service won awards at both the International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Conferences in 2008. Her publications have focused on the mental health of older adults and recent presentations on using appreciative practices as a strengths based approach to enhancing the health of individuals and communities locally and globally. She was PI on a project to implement the use of Appreciative Inquiry as an approach to community centric work in rural South Africa. Facets of this work were presented at the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society International Research Congress, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association conference and the Taos Institute for Relational Practices in Healthcare.