Posted by: ayrshirehealth | June 8, 2012

A potential Phoenix! :by @colin_r_martin

I had the pleasure recently to take part in a very well-attended family nursing conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Beyond the bonhomie that is consequential of enjoying the company of nurses from     across Europe, and against the background of a hugely successful conference, an additional, unexpected factor, had a profound impact on a number of attendees.  Indeed,  on reflection, it occurred to me that this particular event, or moreover, the implications of  it, would appear to have ramifications for all of us working within the health sector.

Banking crisis

The particular context that shaped the event that occurred in Spain is considered almost universally as a negative, however, it is possible that this may unintentionally promote some opportunities for those of working within the nursing field.  So, what was this event?  During my couple of days in Barcelona, the news broke that the Spanish Bank, Bankia,  was in trouble.  In scenes reminiscent of Northern Rock, it was anticipated that customers would  take all their savings out, and certainly, on the Thursday there were signs of this, with queues outside banks and so forth.  I had several conversations with colleagues from Spain, Portugal and Italy about this and they, for the most part, were very concerned about how their respective countries could continue to offer high quality health care against the background of the Eurozone crisis.


I was stunned by the extremes of the austerity measures that some colleagues had endured, pay-cuts of up to 30%, so the Eurozone crisis is clearly chronic, ghastly and devastating all round.  However, where then, may be the opportunities I mentioned earlier for nursing?  A clue to this is to be found in the conference I was attending, the focus being family health nursing.  The structures of healthcare delivery in mainland Europe, particular the State/Private mix of provision would suggest that current arrangements for healthcare delivery are unsustainable in their present form.  Nurses are in an excellent position to provide high quality evidence-based care and intervention within at every level and sphere of operation that is appreciated by patients, valued by the community and is cost effective.

Family Health Nursing

Interestingly, after some false starts at home, family health nursing as a concept is experiencing something of a renaissance in the UK, well at least in Scotland, where our country is coordinating a major European project in this area (… ).  The focus of much family health nursing approaches has very much been guided and influenced by physical health agendas.  However, it is becoming patently clear, through the emerging evidence base, that mental health and physical health are not only linked but also interact, thus implicitly suggesting a crucial role for the mental health nurse within this context.  This would of course promote synthesis but could also lead to opportunities in terms of the extended mental health nursing role that goes beyond the traditional role circumscribed by the Community Psychiatric Nurse.

A potential Phoenix

Therefore, one phoenix that may rise out of the Eurozone ashes may be a revitalised family health nursing perspective, and perhaps, from that, a tangible evolution in the mental health nurses role within the community as a guardian of the best interests of service users and as an instrument of evidenced-based high quality intervention manifest within a context of sustainable and cost-effective healthcare delivery.

Next weeks blog comes from @craigwhitephd exploring how psychology of reactance relates to clinical & academic healthcare challenges

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