Handover | Issue 41 - December 2017

Wow what a year 2017 has been! Inspiring, exhausting and re-energising sums it up for me. And, of course a year of blessings with the birth of another grandchild, Awhina, and news of grandie number 14, also another little girl, arriving in January. So, all round a very productive year.

The earlier part of this year was about bringing to fruition the updated suite of professional supervision guides – Te Tirohanga a te Manu - “A bird’s perspective”, commenced by Bev Burns in 2016 with input from several nurses. Thank you to all the people who took time to review and provide the many profiles included in these guides, which are in very popular demand. Check them out at https://www.tepou.co.nz/initiatives/supervision/119.

The opportunity to attend and co-present an 80-minute symposium on mental health and addiction at the International Congress of Nurses (ICN) in Spain earlier this year, was an amazing experience. The presence of mental health and of New Zealand mental health nurses was highly featured. Frances Hughes (CEO of ICN at that time) shone in her opening and closing addresses, signalling that all nurses must take actions to support people with mental health issues. Daryle Deering and Heather Casey were keynote speakers on day one of this conference attended by over 8,000 nurses from across the globe. The ICN presented a draft policy direction on mental health which we were able to comment on. I look forward to the translation of that global policy into action. This massive dose of inspiration gained in Spain really helped to fuel my passion and determination about supporting people who experience mental health or addiction problems. Travelling halfway around the world on my own and learning about different cultures and history left me with a greater appreciation for New Zealand and an increased sense of confidence in my own personal resourcefulness.

This year my knowledge about supporting Māori people with their wellbeing has grown. Spending time with Moe Milne on project work, reading her work and listening to her keynote presentation at our recent mental health nurses conference has opened my eyes to so many things. Attending a seminar with Sir Mason Durie was so enlightening. A truly remarkable man with a great sense of humour - I could sit and listen to him for hours. He helped me to bring together the small threads of knowledge that I have about Māori people. There is so much more to learn about the culture of my children and my grandchildren. I also realised I have even more to learn about how we can develop a culturally responsive workforce to support Māori people with their wellbeing. I hope the section in the new suite of professional supervision guides may go some way towards achieving this.

The production of each issue of Handover continues to be a major source of connection moments for me. Talking with nurses, hearing about some of the great work that is happening and learning about some of the challenges is one way I try and keep connected. Commitment to and passion for mental health and addiction nursing is alive and well in many areas of practice, as is a sense that many nurses work under a huge amount of pressure with limited resources.

The special birthday issue of Handover this year celebrating ten years, was a major task to pull together but well worth it as feedback has been so positive. The focus on the Mental Health Nursing framework will continue and culminate in a collection of stories that can inform leaders about the future of mental health and addiction nursing.

As the end of the year draws close, so too does our work in supporting the national women in secure care committee to roll out the See through our eyes education resource. It really has been my favourite project since commencing in 2015. It has been a privilege to work alongside people passionate about improving services for women and I look forward to hearing more as their work continues to unfold.

Stepping into the role of the president of Te Ao Māramatanga New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses in October this year was a great opportunity to contribute to mental health nursing and a challenge I am embracing. The college conference, which you will read about in this issue, was heralded by many as a success. A big thank you to everyone who contributed, attended and funded. I had an amazing conference committee working alongside me. My latest favourite sound is the sound of nurses relaxing, laughing and having fun. It was marvellous to see Stu Bigwood and Lois Boyd being awarded a Fellowship to the college for
their contribution to mental health nursing.

I am really looking forward to 2018. The new Government has indicated re-establishment of the Mental Health Commission and an inquiry into mental health and addiction services may well reveal what is needed to better support people with lived experience and hopefully also what is needed to create the right work environments for nurses to fully contribute to deliver timely and effective services wherever they are practising. I believe more innovative roles for nurses are on the horizon.

I wish you well!

Ngā mihi

Suzette