Following discussions from within the ISPS committees, and in recognition of the low participation rate of mental health nurses within the membership of the ISPS Internationally relative to the wider Mental Health multi-disciplinary workforce, concern was expressed about the low numbers of nurses within the membership of ISPS in comparison to the majority voice that nurses have within the field of practice. As a result of this in the UK, a declaration of interest was requested from Alison Summers (UK Chair) for any current nursing members of the ISPS UK to offer themselves as the ISPS UK representative for this exciting opportunity to attend a two day meeting which was held in Stavanger, Norway on the 1st and 2nd of September. I attended on behalf of the ISPS UK nursing membership to discuss how ISPS may move forward to encourage more nurses to join and participate in the work of the organisation.
On Sunday 31st August 2014 I arrived early evening in Stavanger. A meal and brief discussion followed with Jan Olav Johannssen (Professor of Psychiatry, Stavanger), Jan Erik Nilsen (Director of Nursing, Stavanger), Debra Lampshire (ISPS chair NZ, and Teaching Fellow University of Auckland) and Jane Barrington (Teaching Fellow, University of Auckland) who had both previously arrived on the Friday.
Monday 1st September:
I was warmly invited to the grand opening of a new state of the art Psychiatric Hospital and Psychological/Family Therapies building on the site of the main hospital in Stavanger. This was opened by the Minister of Health for Norway, who himself was from Stavanger and appeared to be playing an active and positive role in engaging Mental Health services within the wider community. This was reinforced by the very clear media presence.
Apart from the thoughtful art and interior design that greeted you on entering this new building (a significant difference to some hospitals in the UK which I have both worked on and visited) was the open layout to engage the local community. For example, one of the main lounge areas of the hospital had huge clear open windows and French doors that opened up to the outside area leading on to a local school sports amenities area and a park built for public use. This invited a real sense of normalising, integration, de-stigmatising and engagement of the individuals using the hospital and the local community.
This was followed by a tour of the current hospital in use and an introduction to some of the teams which subsequently ended with an informative user survivor presentation “Living With Voices” by Debra Lampshire. An incredible story of therapeutic interventions and guidance from someone living with 13 voices for most of her life.
We then had meetings for the remainder of the day with the following recommendations recorded by Jan Olav Johanssen:
Present: – Jan Olav Johanssen, Jan Erik Nilsen, Debra Lampshire, Jane Barrington and Neil Thomas.
- We will recommend that the Executive Committee (EC) establish an ISPS-Milieu therapeutic network (ISPS-MN). We discussed whether it should be an ISPS-Nurses Network (ISPS-NN), but the majority felt that that could have the effect of excluding nurses form the general society in ISPS
- We recommend that the ISPS EC establish a task-force dedicated to the above, with 7 members: 2 from Western Europe, 1 from Eastern Europe, 2 from NZ/Australia and 2 from US
- We recommend that the EC organises a separate meeting in New York 2015 for milieu therapists/nurses
- We recommend that the EC take the initiative to design a brochure directed at Milieu therapist, relational treatment and the importance of psychosocial approaches in the daily milieu therapeutic work.
- We recommend that ISPS write a special letter to all members with a milieu therapeutic background.
- We recommend that ISPS is represented with a stand and information material at some international and national conferences for nurses/milieu therapists.
- We recommend that all ISPS conferences (national and international) always have as a part-theme (at least) and focus on nurses/milieu therapists.
We hope that this can be a basis for further discussions in the EC.
Tuesday 2nd September:
Due to my interest and work in an Early Intervention service in Somerset, England (Somerset Team for Early Psychosis or STEP), Jan Olav Johannsen kindly invited me to spend some time with his Early Intervention team in Stavanger, known well as TIPS (Early Detection and Treatment of Psychosis).
A full discussion and handover of cases with the whole team took place in the morning and was kindly translated to English for my benefit. Specific differences noted to EI services in England were the POPS research groups that the TIPS team are currently exploring. This is a group of clients specifically with Prodromal elements of Psychosis being treated with intensive CBT and Omega 3 Oils. I believe they are currently 2-3 years in to a 5 year study and it will be exciting to see the final results.
The day ended with a tour to a local Psychiatric Book shop in the centre of Stavanger called Psykops. Originally set up as a charity by carers of individuals with Psychosis or Schizophrenia due to the frustratingly limited availability of information for families and carers. This has now grown to gain support from the government who also back Schizofrenidagene which is the world’s only and largest 3-day festival of workshops dedicated completely to Schizophrenia and Psychosis between November 3rd-7th. This event is supported by International speakers from around the world who have a wealth of experience and evidence of the subject, this will be an event I shall certainly be placing in my diary for the following years.
STEP Senior Assessment Worker (Community Psychiatric Nurse)
Somerset Team for Early Psychosis (STEP)
Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust