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S. E. McKnight, DNP, MSN, BA, RN-BC, is a career mental health educator who has served in a compassionate mental health nursing practice for more than 22 years. Her specialty is de-escalation training to prevent violence and promote holistic wellness and recovery. No longer a skill practiced only by the mental health disciplines, de-escalation has become a critical skill for all healthcare practices, domains, and disciplines. McKnight has had the privilege of witnessing the dramatic transformation of chaotic healthcare environments into safe, caring, and healing environments with the implementation of de-escalation education programs for all healthcare staff. Presently McKnight teaches mental health nursing at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida, where she educates the next generation of healthcare professionals in safe, holistic nursing care.

She completed a doctor of nursing practice with honors from the University of Alabama and received both her master of nursing science and bachelor of art from the University of South Alabama. Prior to that, she received her associate in nursing from Bishop State Community College. She is a board-certified nursing educator in the field of mental health nursing practice, nursing professional development, and holistic nursing and has received numerous awards for academic excellence in mental health nursing education.

McKnight develops and publishes research in many academic scholarly journals and has contributed to several books. She developed the first competency-based mental health learning needs assessment for professional nursing practice. This needs assessment is published in the American Psychiatric Association database as a best practice instrument for use in both research and education. Her clinical experience has included psychiatric consultation and liaison nursing, addiction recovery counseling, psychiatric emergency department triage, and crisis counseling. McKnight has also worked as an educator for inpatient adult, geriatric, child, and adolescent behavioral health facilities. While working in various clinical positions, she developed and taught specialized evidence-based education programs focused on de-escalation and violence prevention. McKnight delivers workshops and seminars on violence prevention education programs focused on safety.

She is an active member of many professional nursing organizations, including the National League for Nursing, the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, and the American Holistic Nurses Association. McKnight divides her time between clinical practice, training, consulting, scholarly writing, and research.

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