Here are three priorities that we feel will move our new network forward:
- The first is that we need more events like the one in Durham: meeting face to face to think hard about mental health nursing, and to inspire each other with the ways in which critical ideas are shaping our work locally. We need to seek out the critical nursing voices we know to exist but have so far not had a network to bring them together. We need to continue to hear the voices of those whom we nurse – there is no doubt that many of the most significant contributions to our Durham conference were from experts by experience. It was felt that ‘being with’ our service-users was a defining characteristic of good mental health nursing and a driver of our critical thinking, and that this network should reflect that value. We are making enquiries about a conference in Birmingham.
- We need this website to do a lot of work for us. It needs to bring us together, create knowledge and dialogue, to strengthen and validate the identity of being a ‘critical mental health nurse’, providing solidarity. For this reason we are approaching nurses and others to write blog posts for us, and want to also ask you, valued visitor to this site, to consider contacting us to discuss writing a blog post, approximately 1000 words, perhaps on one of the three broad areas that helped us form our discussions in Durham: ‘Being a Mental Health Nurse’, ‘Choice, Crisis and Coercion’, and ‘Possibilities for Progressive Practice’. The general philosophy is this: we value reference to published material, we value reflective personal experience and we value a good question even more than a good answer. If you feel you can write with one or more of those values, if you have experience of mental health nursing, working with mental health nurses or being ‘nursed’, then please be in touch, using the ‘contact us’ tab in the menu. We can help if writing in this way is new to you. Let’s create something to talk about in wards, community mental health teams, universities and beyond.
- We need to start compiling some lists – books, articles, websites, authors, organisations. We want mental health nurses, students and teachers who want to think critically to know they can come to this website and be signposted to the very best writing about their profession, as well as a regular blog providing a fascinating collection of our personal experiences, reading and ideas. A lot of the writing that critical mental health nurses value may be written by people who are not nurses. That is useful, please let us know about it, but we also particularly want to know what nurses write when they are being critical. If you have suggestions to make to these lists, please be in touch, again, through the ‘contact us’ tab. Your input will increase the spread of our ideas and the ability of this website to be relevant. It may also be that you could write a review for us.
Do you have a need to raise your voice? Let us hear it! Heard something good? Let us know!