Tag: Safewards

Skellern Lecture, JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award and MHNAUK meeting

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Geoff Brennan begins his lecture

Earlier this month I made the trip to the University of Greenwich to celebrate this year’s Skellern Lecture and Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (JPMHN) Lifetime Achievement Award. First up was Geoff Brennan, whose lecture was titled The dark art of influencing inpatient mental health nurses. Over his career Geoff has worked as a consultant nurse, and has edited (with Cath Gamble) the textbook Working with serious mental illness. He now serves as Executive Director of Star Wards, and in his talk gave an energetic account of hospital mental health nursing now and in the past, and the skills and qualities which underpin this work. Geoff has long been a champion for inpatient nursing, but in his talk he was generous, too, in acknowledging the contribution made by others in this field. Special mention went to Len Bowers, who led the Safewards trial and who (until his retirement) oversaw the dissemination of findings and the work of promoting the uptake of these around the world.

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Michael Coffey presents the JPMHN Award to Philip Burnard

This year’s JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award went to Philip Burnard, Emeritus Professor in the School of Healthcare Sciences at Cardiff University, and I was very pleased to have the opportunity to introduce Phil to those present. Phil’s oeuvre is a remarkable one, comprising books and papers on interpersonal and communication skills, research methods, ethics, culture, stress and burnout, and much more. The Scopus database lists 181 articles which Phil has authored, including one (A method of analysing interview transcripts in qualitative research) which has been cited well over 1,000 times. Phil gave a frank, and drily humorous, account of his early life, his career in nursing practice and academia, and his experiences of depression. I enjoyed hearing Phil speak, too, of his attachments to shoes and hats (as the photo in this post confirms).

Big congratulations indeed to Geoff and Phil, and worth noting that information on nominations for future Skellern Lecturers and JPMHN Achievement Awards can be found here. The day following this year’s event involved a return to the University of Greenwich, hosted by Deborah Watkins, John Crowley and colleagues, for the summer meeting of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK. Our surroundings were, surely, the grandest in which we’ve ever gathered as a group, being within the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. Our meeting was particularly well-attended, with people making the journey from all four countries of the UK. Guest speaker was Dave Munday from Unite the Union, who gave an update on the #MHnursingFuture campaign. Also discussed were the new NMC standards and the assessment of mental health nursing students’ practice, MHNAUK’s recent responses to consultations and position papers, and (via a presentation from Mary Chambers) research impact. We meet again at the University of Essex in the Autumn.


HCARE welcomes Alan Simpson

Alan's seminarOn November 6th 2017 the School of Healthcare Sciences welcomed Alan Simpson from City, University of London to give a talk titled, Full-steam ahead or treading carefully? Reflections on public and patient involvement in health services research.

In warm and engaging style Alan drew on a whole programme of mental health research (including the City 128 study, Safewards, COCAPP, COCAPP-A and ENRICH) to share his experiences of involving service users at every step. Alan began with an exploration of the reasons for involving patients and the public in research, and drew on his case studies to provide examples of different methods and approaches in action. He closed with lessons learned, emphasising the importance of time, resources, flexibility, training and support, and having funds to pay people for their time and expertise.

The event was livestreamed via the twitter account of the Cardiff University mental health nursing lecturing team. For those who missed Alan and want to catch up, the saved video can still be viewed here:

Safewards comes to Cardiff

Sadly for me I couldn’t be at Geoff Brennan‘s meet-up today with Cardiff and Value UHB mental health nurses to talk about the Safewards study and its implications. But here’s a message Geoff sent, and a fine photo, to mark the occasion:

Making psychiatric wards safer and more peaceful

Safewards, led by Professor Len Bowers, has been funded through a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grant for Applied Research and aims to make psychiatric hospitals more peaceful, safer and therapeutic.Twice in the last year I have had the opportunity to hear Len present the thinking behind the Safewards model, outline the design and methods of the Safewards randomised controlled trial and talk through its main findings.

Following the link from the Safewards logo above takes you to the project’s website. This is packed full of useful information, including the detail of the simple nursing practices which Len and his team found reduced rates of conflict and containment in the hospital wards participating in their study. For an accessible introduction to what Safewards is all about, there is also this video in which Len presents his work to an audience in Melbourne in October 2013:

As I suggested in a meeting yesterday with esteemed Cardiff and Vale University Health Board colleagues, this really is exceptionally important new knowledge for mental health nurses. Now that the main trial is complete Len and his collaborators look to be devoting much of their energies to helping inpatient mental health staff and managers make use of the Safewards interventions in their everyday practice. I wish them every success, and am encouraging people to find out more and to spread the word.

Teesside story

So here’s a brief post from a train, as I make my way home from Mental Health Nurse Academics UK‘s meeting at Teesside University. The journey is long, but the company is good: next to me is Michael Coffey, and in front are Linda Cooper and Julia Terry.

The day has been an interesting one. Len Bowers reprised findings from his Safewards trial (and very important they are, too). Ian Hulatt and Joy Duxbury led a discussion on positive behavioural support. PBS? Not something I know much about, I have to confess. The possibility of establishing research priorities for mental health nursing was also explored. I now realise, as I type, that a discussion on Twitter is taking place on what these priorities might be. A similar round is taking place on themes for future MHNAUK meetings. Time to dive in, perhaps?

NPNR 2013 conference review

Health and health services are political. I therefore applaud those who selected the ‘personal and the political’ as the theme for this year’s Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference.

A word on the keynotes:

Kate Pickett‘s Thursday morning opener pressed home how disastrous inequalities are, for all of us. For those not there to hear Kate speak there’s plenty of compelling evidence available via The Equality Trust website, and indeed in The Spirit Level (which I now realise I must read).

Simon Duffy, in his keynote yesterday, challenged mental health nurses to act collectively and assertively to improve welfare. I believe he was correct in pointing out that public services are often experienced as fragmented, bureaucratic and impersonal. Check out the Centre for Welfare Reform website for more in this area.

Charles Walker, Conservative MP for Broxbourne, has spoken openly about his personal experiences of obsessive compulsive disorder and until recently was Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Mental Health. His Thursday afternoon conversation with the NPNR audience was stylishly done, and whilst I can’t bring myself to vote for his party (not now, not ever) I do appreciate what he has done to challenge discrimination.

Len Bowers used his Thursday keynote to share, for the first time anywhere, results from his Safewards trial. Len is a genuinely world leading researcher, and Safewards is a big and important study with seriously major implications for policy, services, education and practice. Take note, inpatient mental health nurses: the findings from this one are coming your way.

Rounding off the whole event yesterday afternoon was Fiona Nolan, sharing results from her pilot study of the use of protected engagement time (PET) by inpatient mental health nurses. Fiona’s was another great presentation, and her and her colleagues’ findings are important because (despite the push from policymakers) they suggest PET offers no additional benefits to service users.

Other items of news: warm congratulations to Joy Duxbury, who will be delivering the Eileen Skellern Lecture for 2014, and to Hugh McKenna, who will be receiving the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award. Two fine people, and worthy winners both.

The concurrent sessions I had the chance to participate in were of uniformly high-quality, and there was plenty of discussion and debate to be had. I’d also like to think that this year’s event maintained the NPNR’s reputation for combining quality with informality and collegiality. For the record, my view is that nothing of great consequence was lost in moving the conference, for the first time ever, away from Oxford. Warwick worked well, and as others have said via their post-event tweets, it’s the people not the place which matter.

See you next year.