This year’s Skellern lecture will take place on the evening (6-9pm) of June 11th at the Wolfson Lecture Theatre at the Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley and will be delivered by Professor Joy Duxbury, Professor in Mental Health Nursing at the School of Health, University of Central Lancashire. The central theme of her lecture is the challenge of physical restraint, which, if you have been watching the news recently, is high on the current agenda as a result of the high number of restraint-related deaths in custody (eg: http://www.middevongazette.co.uk/Family-man-died-police-custody-meet-health/story-20466943-detail/story.html). On the theme of her talk Professor Duxbury says: “My lecture will endeavour to balance the evident need for improved compassionate based care against a backdrop of risk aversion. There will be a particular focus on coercive practices, more specifically restraint in mental health settings”.
Also on the evening, Professor Hugh Mckenna will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by the Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing (JPMHN). 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.
Duxbury and Mckenna will join a growing list of leaders in the field who have been associated with the Skellern Lecture since 1982. The Skellern Lecture was inaugurated to remember the contribution of Eileen Skellern. Skellern’s considerable contributions to the development of psychiatric and mental health nursing in the UK, were rounded-off by the organisation of the first major international mental health nursing conference in the UK in 1980. Unfortunately, Skellern died two months before the conference, but her legacy was marked two years later in the establishment of the bi-annual lecture in her name. A list of highly prestigious speakers established the series as a leading event for the profession of mental health nursing. In 2006 the Skellern Lecture evening was revitalised and boosted by the addition of a new Lifetime Achievement Award which was sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell’s Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, the first recipient being Phil Barker, followed in 2007 by our own Jo Brand.
Since 2006 the appointment of the Skellern Lecturer and the JPMHN Lifetime Achievement has been via a competitive process of peer nomination, short-listing and panel voting. The appointments panel is made up of previous Skellern lecturers, Lifetime Award recipients, and representatives from event sponsors who have included: The Cassel Hospital, Birmingham Mental Health Trust, The South London & Maudsley Trust, South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, Nottinghamshire Health Care Trust, London South Bank University, City University, Institute of Mental Health Nottingham, RCN, Mental Health Nurse Academics UK, Wiley-Blackwell and most recently Greenwich University & Oxleas). In recent years the voting decision of panel has been announced to great anticipation and fanfare at the annual Network of Psychiatric Nursing Research (NPNR) conference, which is held in September. The short-list in 2014 was as impressive as ever with: Richard Whittington and John Playle short-listed for the Skellern Lecture, and Kevin Gournay, Alistair Campbell, Beatrice Stevens and Phil Burnard short-listed for the Lifetime Award. It is the strength of the short-list and the willingness for well-known colleagues to ‘put their hat into the ring’ that ultimately gives kudos to the Skellern lecture and the Lifetime Award.
The lecture evening is a free event so visit the Skellern web-pages http://www.skellern.info where you will be able to reserve your place, where you also find an archive for previous events, information about the current event and a live link to our SKELLERN TWITTER. There are also details about how to nominate for the awards, and we are also keen to recruit student representatives to the panel. We look forward to seeing you on June 11th.
- Dr Gary Winship, University of Nottingham, firstname.lastname@example.org