Tag: Skellern lecture

Skellern Lecture and Lifetime Achievement Award 2023

The School of Healthcare Sciences in Cardiff University is hosting the 2023 Skellern Lecture and Lifetime Achievement Award evening, which takes place in the Glamorgan Building on June 15th. An Eventbrite link to book tickets to be there, in person, can be found here. Here, too, is the evening’s order of events:

A packed evening, for sure, with an invitation now to secure a place and to spread the word!


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.

#MHNAUK meets in Leeds, and talks work and roles

MHNAUK members in Leeds
MHNAUK meets in Leeds

Mental Health Nurse Academics UK met yesterday in Leeds, hosted by John Baker and chaired by Joy Duxbury. Our discussions were wide-ranging: proposed changes to the composition of the English NHS workforce signalled by the introduction of associate nurses; the arrival, in England, of student fees for nursing degrees from 2017; safe staffing (see also this editorial in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing); plans for #NPNR2016; arrangements for a second student mental health nursing conference; the Shape of Caring; England’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health; guidance for adult field nurses caring for people with mental health problems; this year’s Skellern Lecture and JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award; the current call for papers for a themed care planning and coordination issue of the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (which Michael Coffey, Alan Simpson and I are co-editing); and the hot-off-the-press announcement of a Foundation of Nursing Studies-sponsored review into the role of mental health nurses.

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.

NPNR 2014 reflections

For those not at the 20th International Network for Psychiatric Research Conference, which took place yesterday and the day before at Warwick University, here are links to the conference brochure and the book of abstracts. Following this link takes you to Laura Benfield’s aggregation of #NPNR2014-tagged tweets. Laura, I hear, is moving on from the RCN Events team: many thanks to her for all the behind-the-scenes work at this, and previous, conferences.

This was another high-quality NPNR gathering. Brendan McCormack gave an impassioned keynote on person-centred care, emphasising the absolute importance of values and culture, and Julie Repper spoke eloquently on co-production and the vital work that mental health nurses can do to promote this. Debbie Hicks talked of the work of The Reading Agency in using books to promote mental health and wellbeing. In his Friday morning keynote Swaran Singh gave a presentation which had, at its heart, the idea that higher recorded rates of mental illness in migrant groups are better explained by experiences of social adversity than they are by institutionalised racism. Kevin Ann Huckshorn delivered a final keynote centring on leadership and the implementation of recovery and coercion-reducing approaches.

I also sat in on, and chaired, some excellent concurrent sessions. From speaking with fellow delegates I know that I missed plenty of others of equal quality. From Fiona Nolan and colleagues I learned of the latest in the development and evaluation of protected engagement time initiatives, and from Hilary Ford of the use of a lifecourse approach in pre-registration mental health nurse education. I always appreciate what Mick McKeown has to say, and this year heard Fiona Jones and him talking about the opportunities (and challenges) of introducing recovery ideas in a secure hospital. I heard Brenda Happell deliver two papers: on the relationships between clinical experiences in mental health settings and nursing students’ attitudes to mental health as a field of practice, and on the introduction and evaluation of a service user-led module. Iain Hepworth and Peter Martin both gave talks touching on the work of liaison mental health nurses, and Alan Finnegan presented findings from a grounded theory study of military mental health nurses. Hilary Wareing shared experiences in introducing smoke-free mental health services, Hannah Walsh and colleagues talked of education and training for clinical support workers, and last (but certainly not least) Len Bowers shared his thoughts on (and experiences of) online suicide prevention education for mental health nurses.

I was also mightily pleased to have had the chance to be involved in four papers, each arising from funded research ongoing or recently completed and drawing on the talents and experiences of the fine people variously associated with COCAPP, Plan4Recovery and RiSC. We were there in force in Warwick: Alan Simpson, Michael Coffey, Sally Barlow, Jitka Všetečková, Bethan Edwards, Alan Meudell, Julian Hunt, Nicola Evans and Steven Pryjmachuk. Many thanks to those who came along to listen to, and discuss, our project experiences and our findings.

The NPNR conference is also the place where the following year’s JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award winner and Skellern lecturer are announced. Very big congratulations to Ian Norman (who, as it happens, was one of my PhD examiners) and to Marion Janner, both of whom will be delivering their addresses at Nottingham University on June 11th 2015.

It’s worth mentioning, too, that the annual NPNR conference has a deserved reputation for informal collegiality and friendliness, and this year was no exception. I enjoyed meeting up with friends old and new.

Looking ahead, I see that an early call for suggested themes for NPNR 2015 has already gone out:

I, for one, plan to be there.

2014 Skellern Lecture, JMPHN Lifetime Achievement Award and MHNAUK meet-up

Last week brought a trip to London for a series of events: a COCAPP update on framework analysis; a COCAPP project advisory group meeting; the 2014 Skellern Lecture and the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award; and this term’s meeting of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK.

Gary Winship, who does an excellent job organising the Skellern and JPMHN events, wrote this piece on the MHNAUK blog ahead of the lectures taking place at the Institute of Psychiatry. He wrote how Professor Joy Duxbury in her Skellern Lecture:

…will endeavour to balance the evident need for improved compassionate based care against a backdrop of risk aversion [and will place] a particular focus on coercive practices, more specifically restraint in mental health settings.

And that was exactly what Joy did on the night. She lined up, and tackled, the reasons mental health nurses give for using physical restraint and using video evidence drew her audience’s attention to what can go wrong. This includes patient deaths, something which the national charity Mind has been campaigning about since last year (see this post from June 2013) and which has helped drive the Department of Health’s guidance on positive and proactive care.

Professor Hugh McKenna took a break from his REF duties as Chair of the Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy sub-panel to receive this year’s JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award. Here’s Gary Winship’s preamble from the MHNAUK site:

Professor McKenna has a long and illustrious career. He was appointed an International Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2013 which is an accolade accorded to very few people outside the USA. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (1999), Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing (2003) and Fellow of the European Academy of Nursing Science (2003). In 2008, Professor McKenna received a CBE for contributions to health care and the community, and in the same year he was appointed to Chair the Nursing Panel in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

Hugh delivered a personable, good-humoured, lecture which also contained some important messages for nurses aiming to build programmes of research. These included the importance of working collaboratively and across disciplinary boundaries, aiming high, and getting funding. These are all things which Hugh has excelled at in his own career, though he was far too modest to draw explicit attention to this himself. Many congratulations both to him and to Joy: two recipients very worthy of their awards.

Following events on June 11th, the 12th brought the final meet-up in the current academic year of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK, convened on this occasion at London South Bank University. The morning was devoted to these presentations:

Colin Gale, Archivist, Bethlem Museum of the Mind
As if to, drive me mad: an Edwardian’s experience of sedatives and the asylum

Tony Leiba, Emeritus Professor, LSBU
Lessons of social inclusion through policy

Tommy Dickinson, Lecturer, Manchester University
‘Curing Queers’: giving a voice to former patients who received treatments for their ‘sexual deviations’, 1935-1974

The afternoon saw MHNAUK members get down to business. This included a discussion, led by Andy Mercer, on how best to influence the latest round of nursing reviews including the Shape of Caring and The Lancet Commission on UK Nursing. Elsewhere on the agenda were updates on this year’s Network for Psychiatric Nursing Research conference, MHNAUK’s in-progress position paper on physical health and well-being (led by Patricia Ryan-Allen and Jacquie White) and possible journal affiliations.


London calling

Time this evening to note tomorrow’s COCAPP project advisory group meeting (to be held at City University London), to be followed by a trip to the Institute of Psychiatry to hear the delivery of this year’s Eileen Skellern Lecture by Professor Joy Duxbury and Professor Hugh McKenna’s acceptance of the JPMHN Lifetime Achievement award. Time, too, to note Thursday’s meeting of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK at London South Bank University.

So, lots to talk about and listen to.

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.

First reflections on two days away

A series of train journeys home gives me space to mull over two days spent in London. Yesterday opened with a meeting of the COCAPP Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG), expertly chaired by the wonderful Alison Faulkner. Significantly, key parts of COCAPP are changing in response to LEAG recommendations. Our semi-structured interview schedules, for example, directly reflect the LEAG’s input. This is all good, and I am personally learning huge amounts from the opportunity to be involved.

Yesterday evening saw Alan Simpson give his Skellern Lecture followed by Malcolm Rae receiving his Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award.

As entirely anticipated Alan gave an informed, engaging and challenging talk, which took in his personal journey into mental health nursing and conveyed key messages from his research. Alan gave us plenty to think about. Might peer support workers be attractive to managers with squeezed budgets? Might they begin to replace members of more established groups, nurses included? Or, as Alan hoped, can peer support workers, nurses and others work side-by-side in harmonious fashion for the benefit of people using services?

Malcolm Rea I do not personally know, though based on the talk on leadership in mental health nursing he gave yesterday this has been my loss. I shall remember his contrasting of ‘drains’ and ‘radiators’ (and try personally to be more of the latter than the former).

Yesterday ended with a convivial social in a London pub, and today was more COCAPP: this time a team meeting followed by a Project Advisory Group (PAG) skillfully chaired by John Larsen from Rethink. Some of our discussion centred on the finer aspects of COCAPP’s design and methods, and for that the study will benefit.

So there we are then: only the shortest summary of some pretty involved discussions, but it will do for now. Home calls.

Skellern lecture, JPMHN lifetime achievement award and MHNAUK

Just enough time for me to draw attention to some important happenings about to take place in the world of mental health nursing. Tomorrow evening (June 12th) Alan Simpson delivers this year’s Skellern Lecture and Malcolm Rae receives his Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing Lifetime Achievement Award. Here are the flyers for these linked events, both taking place at City University London:

Next week brings this term’s meeting of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK, taking place at Liverpool John Moores University. Hosts are Lisa Woods and Grahame Smith, and the agenda is looking interesting.

Mental Health Nurse Academics UK: hot off the press

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been acting as a returning officer of sorts, as members of Mental Health Nurse Academics UK (MHNAUK) have been voting for a new Vice Chair. This is a position held for two years, after which the incumbent becomes Chair for a further two years.

This morning I’ve emailed members of MHNAUK with news of the outcome. Well done to Professor Joy Duxbury, from UCLan, who is duly elected. Joy knows lots about risk, safety, aggression and coercion in mental health services (see, for example, this paper and this paper). She takes up her position in the new year, picking up from Dr Michael Coffey (Swansea University) who now becomes Chair. That’s a great combination of people, let it be said: MHNAUK remains in very capable hands. By the way, I’m not sure if Joy tweets, but for the Twitter-users out there Michael does as @D10Coff.

Taking a well-earned breather having done an excellent job chairing MHNAUK for the last two years is Professor Alan Simpson from City University, or @cityalan as he’s known in Twitter-land. Good work, Alan. Now go and prepare that talk you have to give as Skellern Lecturer for 2013!