Following a discussion involving the event’s steering committee and Mental Health Nurse Academics UK (MHNAUK), what was the International Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research Conference has now become the International Mental Health Nursing Research Conference. Next year we meet in Cardiff on September 14th and 15th, and early information can be found here. This site will be updated as further plans are made, so it’s worth checking in from time to time. We’ve also updated our conference twitter feed; clicking Follow @MHNRconf takes you there. Our hashtag, which is already in use, is #MHNR2017.
For a taster of the conference, here are links to four of last year’s keynote presentations: Steven Pryjmachuk, Elaine Hanzak, Luciana Berger MP and Bryn Lloyd-Evans:
Meanwhile, I’m pleased to have been elected as Vice Chair of MHNAUK. I’ll be working with the Chair, Steven Pryjmachuk, throughout 2017 and 2018 before becoming Chair at the start of 2019 for a further two years. I’m grateful for the opportunity colleagues have given me, and will do my best to lead and represent the group and the wider field. I anticipate having plenty to do, noting changes ahead in the education of nurses, the funding of students and the run-in to the next research excellence framework. More on all these to follow, I’m sure: with time today to draw attention to the decision by the Welsh Government to continue bursary payments in 2017-18 for eligible students of nursing, midwifery and the allied health professionals. As the press release announcing this makes clear, individuals taking this offer up will need to commit ‘in advance to taking up the opportunity to work in Wales, post qualification, for a period of two years’. Entirely unclear are funding arrangements for the period from 2018-19 onwards.
The theme for this year’s Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference is Mental health across the life course. We’re convening in Nottingham on September 15th and 16th, and I’m very much looking forward. With help from André Tomlin (of the Mental Elf Service) we’re aiming to organise some pre-conference social media events: watch out for more on this, including via the new @npnrconf Twitter account. We’re also hoping to add some social media to the conference itself, including streaming. Very exciting.
Best of all, of course, is to come along to the conference as a delegate. This is an event which prides itself on its friendliness. Here are the keynote speakers:
Luciana Berger MP – Former Shadow Minister (Mental Health)
Elaine Hanzak, Inspirational speaker and author on perinatal mental health
Professor John Keady – Professor of Older People’s Mental Health Nursing, University of Manchester
Professor Steven Pryjmachuk – Professor of Mental Health Nursing Education, University of Manchester
Dr Bryn Lloyd-Evans – Lecturer in Mental Health and Social Care/ CORE Programme Manager, University College London
I’m back from my annual trip to the International Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference, held this year in Nottingham and once again presented as a collaboration between MHNAUK and the RCN.
This, the 22nd NPNR gathering, is the second for which I have served as a member of the conference organising and scientific committee. Our theme – trailed well in advance via our dedicated conference twitter account – was mental health across the lifecourse. We had some super keynote speakers: Elaine Hanzak, who spoke with openness about her recovery from postnatal mental illness; Luciana Berger MP, former Shadow Minister for Mental Health and President of the Labour Campaign for Mental Health, who demonstrated knowledge of, and commitment to, the field; John Keady, who spoke with passion about creative, biographical, approaches to researching the needs and experiences of people with dementia, including in his ongoing Neighbourhoods and Dementia programme; Steven Pryjmachuk, who made the case for nursing leadership in children and young people’s mental health research, and along the way gave a mention to the RiSC study; and Bryn Lloyd-Evans, who summarised the state of play in crisis resolution research, drawing (amongst other things) on the CORE programme. Our plenary sessions were expertly chaired by Wendy Cross and Geoff Dickens, and – as a first – this year’s event also included a partnership with André Tomlin from the Mental Elf Service and Mark Brown and Vanessa Garrity from the WeMHNurses community. This meant we had lots of social media and online discussion throughout the conference, recording of plenary sessions and a live-streamed pre-event round table evening discussion chaired by Alan Simpson. Here is a link to the recording, for those who missed it as it happened:
Once I have a link to the recordings of #NPNR2016’s keynote talks I’ll update this post with these, too.
A note, too, on the conference’s workshops and concurrent sessions. I enjoyed participating in André Tomlin’s critical appraisal workshop, and with Elaine Hanzak writing a contribution during this to the blog post published on The Mental Elf website here. I also enjoyed our follow-up discussion on using social media, convened by André and Vanessa Garrity. I heard Nicky Lambert give two presentations (no less), and listened to talks from Karen Wright, Paula Libberton, Andrew Grundy and Ashlee Charles. There’s some great work going on out there, let it be said. That includes in COCAPP-A, Plan4Recovery and RiSC, all of which were presented in Nottingham.
As soon as we’re able, the conference organising committee will announce details of both dates and venue for #NPNR2017. Watch this space for an update.
In this post I’ll largely confine myself to some thoughts on the mental health workforce and on the place of nurses within this. Yesterday’s discussions in this area exercised MHNAUK members greatly. Proposed changes to the occupational mix to be found within mental health services, debates over nursing numbers and safe staffing, and new arrangments for the funding of education have the potential to trigger significant turbulence in an already-complex system of care. MHNAUK members rightly identified how the appearance of a new associate nurse role, sitting in between health care support workers and registered nurses, will trigger unrest. This is always the case when professional jurisdictions come under pressure (see here and here for papers I have co-written which expand on this point). In this current case, some registered nurses will see new associates as a threat to their hard-won jurisdiction. At a time when nurses are pressing for safe staffing, some are likely to argue that the introduction of associates will also open the door to role substitution and eventual reductions in numbers of registered nurses, thereby threatening both quality and safety.
Should associate nurses appear, we can be certain that plenty of inter-occupational jostling will take place as support workers, associates and registered nurses (amongst others) negotiate their relative positions and assert control over areas of work. In this regard, abstract descriptions of the tasks which new associates will (and will not) be permitted to carry out will provide only the most limited of guides. Differentiations between who does what will inevitably be hammered out in the workplace.
And what of the cross-UK implications for all of this, given that the Department of Health’s associate nurse announcement is for England only? To me it is unclear how new associates will be regulated, or how transferable their future qualifications might be should any wish to move to, say, Wales. Across the four countries of the UK important differences are appearing in the ways people are prepared for health care practice, and in the funding of this. Student nurses will pay fees in England from next year, but student nurses in Scotland will not and will continue to receive a bursary. Here in Wales (unless I’ve been asleep and have missed a piece of essential news), we will need to wait until after our forthcoming Assembly elections and the formation of a new Welsh Government for an announcement on future financial arrangments for nursing education. Perhaps we’ll hear more about the shape of the future Welsh NHS workforce then, too.
Over on the #NPNR2016 website the call for abstracts has now been published. The conference takes place on September 15th and 16th, at the Nottingham Conference Centre, and our theme for this year’s event is mental health across the life course. Here’s some more information:
The NPNR conference is the leading mental health nursing conference in the UK. This year our 22nd conference will explore the challenges faced by mental health nurses in delivering evidenced-based compassionate care across the life course. We will consider both the complexity of issues faced by individuals throughout the life course, and also how well services and nurses meet the mental health needs of the people they collaborate with .
Once again, our intention is to provide an event where you can engage and critically debate issues (from education, practice and research) of relevance to the way care is provided and received. The NPNR conference is the place for mental health nurses and those we work with to present and learn new knowledge, therefore we encourage you to submit your research and practice development initiatives.
The conference also provides a great opportunity to participate in discussion so that you leave the conference informed, enlightened and with new energy to engage with the challenges ahead. Alongside our expert speakers, great practice development and research papers the conference promotes a friendly and welcoming atmosphere that has been the hallmark of NPNR for over 20 years.
Belated happy new year. Visiting the Royal College of Nursing headquarters in London last Friday ahead of a meeting of the Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research (NPNR) conference committee (more on that below) gave me an opportunity to pop into the ‘Out of the Asylum’ exhibition. I’m glad I did. Texts, photographs and other artefacts illustrate the history of mental health nursing.
Here are some of the pictures I took. These include a photo of the RCN’s copy of a sixth edition of the Red Handbook, displayed alongside nurses’ badges, a Bethlem Royal Hospital pamphlet, a syringe and other items of interest. For more on the Red Handbook see this earlier post, along with this post which includes material from my copy of a fourth edition of the same. Another picture relates a set of regulations for the bathing of patients.
One of the display boards makes the observation that ‘few mental health nurses now wear uniforms’. As an unfortunate aside, this may need some future updating. From what I’m hearing, the historic trend towards mental health nurses wearing everyday clothes at work is reversing, with numbers of NHS trusts and health boards contemplating a return to uniforms. I regret that. But sticking with the exhibition…
…a final photograph I’m reproducing here is the front sheet of an early 1930s examination paper. Look hard and you’ll see questions on bones, asphyxia and antiseptics (amongst other things).
The NPNR planning meeting, this being the purpose of my trip, was a productive one. This year’s event (the 22nd) will be taking place in Nottingham on September 15th and 16th. I’ll add more on this when I can, and include some regular updates on this site.
The 21st Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research (NPNR) conference took place on Thursday and Friday, September 17th and 18th 2015, with the theme of ‘Building new relationships in mental health nursing: opportunities and challenges’. The occasion was a fine one, with just short of 200 people in attendance. For those not able to make it but wanting to know more, the programme can still be found here and the book of abstracts here.
I’ve been on the NPNR scientific and organising committee this year, courtesy of my membership of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK. This afforded me the chance to welcome delegates at the conference opening, and to draw attention to the just-breaking news of Professor Len Bowers’ planned retirement at the start of 2016. Len has been an inspirational mental health nurse researcher: more on this later.
Introduced by Professor Liz Hughes as day one conference chair, this year’s keynotes commenced with Professor Karina Lovell giving an overview of the current state of knowledge in remote psychological therapies. Karina is a world leader in research into interventions for people with commoner mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, as well as being actively involved in services and practice through her work with organisations like Anxiety UK and others. For an example of important new research in this area check out the REEACT trial into computerised CBT for people with depression. This is an important study which Karina both referenced in her talk, and is actively involved in.
Dr Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health, delivered a second keynote on using mental health intelligence. She praised the work of nurses, and made a strong case for mental illness prevention. Geraldine also reminded delegates of the high rates of premature mortality of people living with mental health difficulties, and the continued exclusion of many from employment. As routes to improvement she pointed to leadership, and the value of data to benchmark and drive up standards.
Day one’s final keynote presentation was delivered by André Tomlin, founder of the Mental Elf website and author of this pre-conference blogpost. André is an information scientist, who illustrated the challenge of keeping up-to-date with the evidence using this slide. Podcasts, social media, tweetchats and other new technologies are all part of André’s solution to the challenge of information overload, and as strategies to help plug the leaky evidence pipeline. The National Elf Service, of which the Mental Elf is a part, plays a big part in this area; for an overview of what’s on offer, here’s one of André’s videos:
Chair for day two was Professor Doug MacInnes, one of whose duties was to introduce Professor Shôn Lewis from the Institute of Brain, Behaviour and Mental Health at the University of Manchester as the deliverer of the conference’s fourth keynote lecture. Shôn spoke about current approaches to the care and treatment of people with psychosis and schizophrenia, using findings from the non-commercial CATIE and CUtLASS trials to suggest that newer antipsychotics are generally no better than first generation antipsychotics. Shôn also referenced the SoCRATES trial to evidence the idea that outcomes are associated with the quality of the therapeutic alliance, rather than with the specific therapeutic approach used. SoCRATES, I have now discovered, compared the effectiveness of (1) CBT plus routine care, (2) supportive counselling plus routine care and (3) routine care alone for people with schizophrenia. Shôn devoted the last part of his presentation to ClinTouch (a mobile phone app to record and upload symptoms) and CareLoop (which is testing if ClinTouch can be connecteded to NHS IT systems and to everyday practice).
#NPNR2015’s final keynote was delivered by Mark Brown, and the full text of his talk can be read here. Mark edited One in Four magazine, and is now development director of Social Spider, runs the Day in the Life project and is part of the team behind the WeMHNurses Twitter meeting place. Drawing on personal experience of its usefulness he described digital technology as less of a possible future than an unfolding present. One example of tech in action, which Mark referred to in his talk, is his own Doc Ready website. This was designed to help people prepare for discussions with doctors about their mental health difficulties.
That’s summary enough of the keynotes. From the concurrent sessions I participated in, chaired or observed I’ll first start with the SUGAR meets Dragons’ Den workshop. Three volunteers – Jason Hickey, Laoise Renwick and Cher Hallett – pitched their research ideas to SUGAR members. In the event, SUGAR offered their time and support to all three, but also voted Cher’s plans (on intramuscular injections) as the best of the batch. In the second concurrent I’m picking out, Julian Hunt, Alan Meudell and Michael Coffey presented reflections from Plan4Recovery. This project, which I’m also part of, is examining shared decision-making and social networks for people using secondary mental health services. And, finally, a word about our COCAPP symposium. This started with an overview paper from Alan Simpson, was followed by a presentation from Michael Coffey titled, ‘Ordinary risks and accepted fictions: how contrasting and competing priorities work in risk assessment care planning’ and concluded with a paper from Sally Barlow and me on participants’ views and experiences of recovery and personalisation.
Organised by Laoise Renwick, this year for the first time the NPNR conference featured a poster trail. This worked well. Displayed posters were themed, and during lunchtime on day two guided delegates took opportunities to speak with those associated with them. Along the way I spotted some interesting posters from the RCN, drawing attention to an upcoming history of mental health nursing exhibition (organised with lots of help from Ian Hulatt) about to launch in London.
Finally, a word on Len Bowers. At Doug MacInnes’ invitation, Len took to the lectern during the afternoon of day two to confirm his upcoming retirement and his plans for the future. These include (we learned) playing the flute, travel, photography and electronic music-making. Very nice. Len is a generous, principled and humble man whose contribution to creating new knowledge for mental health nursing has been immense. Take Safewards as an example. This is Len’s NIHR-funded programme grant, findings from which are changing practice in the UK and around the world. That’s some achievement, in my book. We wish him well.
As the NPNR conference convenes for the 21st time developments in research, education and delivery of mental health nursing care continue apace. New knowledge opens the way for new forms of relationships with people who use services, their families and with colleagues within and outside our discipline. The way mental health nurses are educated and how they develop and research their practice is also changing, bringing with it new opportunities and many challenges.
This year’s conference will engage with the emerging evidence and changes in the landscape of care as we seek to craft new understandings of what it means to be a mental health nurse. As we become attuned to the vagaries of policy and the volume of new knowledge for our profession we must also rise to the challenge of ‘seeing’ in new ways. Our intention is to provide a space where colleagues can debate and critically engage with flux in the profession.
The NPNR is the place for mental health nurses and those we work with to present and learn new knowledge. We encourage you to participate in discussion so that you leave the conference informed, enlightened and with new energy to engage with the challenges ahead. Alongside our expert speakers, great practice development and research papers the conference promotes a friendly and welcoming atmosphere that has been the hallmark of NPNR for 20 years. This year in addition to our exciting themes we include new developments for 2015.
And, for a taster, here’s a snip from the conference website giving some information on this year’s keynote speakers. Very impressive indeed.
As always, the two-day programme also features concurrent sessions, supplemented (this year) with workshops and symposia. I’ll be part of a COCAPP delegation delivering three linked papers: a main findings presentation, a paper with an interesting emerging analysis of risk in care planning and coordination, and a presentation on how people talk about recovery and personalisation.
Tim Carter talked us through his freshly-minted mixed methods PhD, in which he investigated the use of a preferred-intensity exercise programme for young people with depression. I thought this to be a very well-designed study, which generated considerable discussion around the active ingredients of the intervention and plans for a future follow-up.
Elsewhere Lawrie Elliott, editor of the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, was welcomed by the group to give an update on developments at the journal in his first year at the helm. I really liked what I heard, and said as much in our discussion. Quality of papers, and relevance to mental health nursing, are being prioritised. Word limits have been increased to allow for more in-depth analysis in accepted articles. To extend its reach the journal now has a Twitter account, which can be followed by clicking the following link:
Ben Thomas from the Department of Health opened a discussion on the future of the Student Mental Health Nursing Conference, the inaugural event having taken place at the O2 Arena in London in February this year. As I understand it, much of the organising was done by staff and students at Greenwich University: well done, them. A group of MHNAUK members representing different universities has agreed to collaborate to keep this initiative going, and with a view to turning it into a cross-UK, rather than an England-only, opportunity.
#NPNR2015 takes place at the Manchester Conference Centre on Thursday 17th and Friday 18th September 2015. We think the programme is shaping up perfectly, with keynote speakers including England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health Dr Geraldine Strathdee, Prof Shôn Lewis from the University of Manchester, Mark Brown who ran One in Four magazine and is now involved with The New Mental Health, and André Tomlin who runs The Mental Elf service. We have symposia, workshops and concurrent sessions with papers accepted from presenters around the world, a walking poster tour and the opportunity for fringe events. Make your booking now!