#RCN18 Congress – Monday

Today was fantastically busy, in the best possible way.

A key highlight was to present our resolution on Therapeutic Staffing in Mental Health settings. This is a real passion of mine – to recognise that we as mental health nurses have therapeutic clinical effect through our interactions with service users. This effect is seldom represented in service planning and not accomodated in staffing planning. There is a lot of work going on around minimum staffing levels but, as we heard today from our colleagues, working to a minimum makes our teams work in crisis and containment, rather than active treatment and recovery.

Our resolution was passed – not unanimously but with a good majority that gives the RCN a mandate to commission research. It was great to get broad input from our colleagues in other disciplines and their perspectives will be useful in moving this work forward. Colleagues in general and learning disability have expressed interest in adapting the outcome of our programme into their own practice, which is hugely exciting.

You can watch the debate here.

Earlier in the day we heard from accomplished economist Will Hutton who shared his concerns about the effect of Brexit on the UK economy and society, highlighting how we in healthcare might have to prepare for a new socioeconomic landscape.

Other debates included the use of body cameras (citing research by former MH Forum committee member Dr Sheila Hardy), recruitment of male nurses (which was perhaps controversially defeated but very well presented by the Belfast branch), child refugees, third party harassment, public health funding and finally a discussion on robots.

This last had to be cut short as we ran out of time, but the debate will recommence in the morning.

With days like that, it’s no wonder we’re exhausted by the end of it!

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