Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Service @ CHHHS Eating Disorder Forum

Next month there is an Eating Disorder Forum at Cairns Hospital. Amongst the teams presenting is the Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Service (CLPS). This blog post aims simply to serve as an easy-to-find landing spot for the CLPS presentation.

Here is the link to the presentation (on Prezi).

The session is designed to be a narrative. Relying mostly on screenshots of what ieMR file entries* look like, the presentation is just a prop to keep the narrative of the presentation on-topic. The main themes are:

  • the role of the Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Service (spoiler alert: it includes consultation and liaison)
  • an illustration of some of the things that are covered in a consultation with the person experiencing an eating disorder
  • understanding the person’s strengths, vulnerabilities and goals
  • ensuring care is person-centred
  • what collaboration and liaison looks like in this context
  • understanding that the person is relying on a network of individuals and services
  • emphasising the importance of communication between teams and across settings
  • separate the person from the eating disorder (that’s where the Mean Girls thing comes in – zoom in to the Prezi for elaboration)
  • practical support to the nursing team
  • when applicable/appropriate, delegation of tasks to AINs (more about that here)
  • managing transference and countertransference
  • minimising ruptures and conducting running-repairs in relationships between and within teams

ieMR file entries*

Worried about confidentiality? Relax. The patient’s name is ‘Kerry Test Test Codesettest‘. Kerry is not a person. Kerry is a sandbox to play in when practicing or illustrating how ieMR can be used.


That’s it for this pretty-underwhelming blog post. As said at the beginning, it’s really just an easy way to find this link:

Thanks for visiting.

Paul McNamara, 12 August 2022

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Nursing in the Tropics: Experience the Lifestyle! (circa 2002)

Today on Twitter, out of the blue, Mick Blair reminded me of a twenty-year-old poster.

Sometime in the early 2000s (2001 or 2002, I think) my local health service went on a recruitment drive titled, “Nursing in the Tropics: Experience the Lifestyle!”.

The poster featured ten nurses.

Nine of the nurses are female and doing stuff.

One of the nurses is male and just standing around not obviously participating in a task. That nurse is me. However, to be fair, I may have been reflecting on-, or planning for-, something important. I don’t know. It was a long time ago. Don’t judge me man. 😬

Anyway, I was pleased to be reminded of the campaign poster today, and wanted to plonk it here on the website for nostalgia’s sake and so I can find it again PRN.

Nursing in the Tropics: Experience the Lifestyle! Cairns Health Service District poster (circa 2002)

One More Thing

The “Nursing in the Tropics: Experience the Lifestyle!” campaign ran its course many years ago. There is a fresher, funkier campaign in its place. Check out the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) #HealthUpNorth hashtag on social media, and/or check out the CHHHS careers page:

I’ve been working here since the mid-90s (actually working, not just standing there like I am in the poster), and it’s good. The people are what makes it great, but the climate and user-friendliness of living in a compact city with world-class attractions and an international airport on its doorstep help too. Working in Cairns was, and remains, a quality of life decision that I’ve never regretted.

End Notes

That’s it. As always, feel free to leave feedback via the comments section below.

Sincere thanks to Mick Blair for the tweet/nostalgia trip. 🙂

Paul McNamara, 8 August 2022

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When a nurse in the know writes a book you probably should read it.

Coral Wilkinson has been a Registered Nurse for over 30 years. We’ve crossed clinical paths a lot, especially during Coral’s stints as a Clinical Nurse Consultant and Nurse Navigator for older persons, and when she was working on the Aged Care Assessment Team. Coral is one of those very capable and kind characters – the sort of person who lifts the standard and reputation of nursing.

In recent years Coral has started an organisation called See Me Aged Care Navigators which is described as ‘the human compass you need to guide and support you through Australia’s aged care system’. As an adjunct to the organisation and its informative website, Coral has written a book aimed at the adult children of older people in need of support, who are a bit unsure on what services are available and how to access them.

When a nurse in the know writes a book you probably should read it. Especially if it’s about something as mysterious and baffling as Australia’s aged care system. There’s a lot of experience, knowledge and acquired practical wisdom in this book. I am sure that the information provided will assist readers to understand and negotiate complex pathways to care.

More Info

More about Coral Wilkinson here:

More about Coral’s book, ‘My Parents Are Ageing, What The Heck Do I Do?’ (and how to get your hands on a copy) here:


That’s it. This blog post is short, sharp, and breezy.

And an overt plug for My Parents Are Ageing, What The Heck Do I Do? by Coral Wilkinson 🙂

Paul McNamara, 2 August 2022

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Self Compassion (TikTok try)

(if you’re up for it, please follow the link below and watch the two minute TikTok)

Can everything about self compassion be reduced to a 2 minute TikTok video? 

Of course not. 

Perhaps the key questions of what, why, how and who can be introduced though. 

Let’s give that a try.

The “what” is the definition of self compassion, described here as “being empathetic and understanding towards oneself, as you might to a close friend in times of suffering”

That seems sensible. Let’s do that.


Because health professionals are more at risk of anxiety, depression and suicide than people in other jobs.

This chart is of Australian suicide data for the first 11 years of this century.

Male doctors suicide at the same rate as males in other occupations. 

Female doctors suicide at twice the rate as females in other occupations.

Nurses and Midwives who are male have a suicide rate that is 50% higher than it is for males in other occupations. 

Female nurses and midwives suicide at three times the rate of females in other occupations.

I’m not sure why these numbers are the way they are. Some of it would because of the nature of our work. I think some of it may be because of our collective psychopathology. 

Do people who care for others prioritise their self compassion enough?

How do care for ourselves while we’re caring for others?

Here’s one idea: make every time you wash your hands a mindful moment for yourself too. 

Use that 30 seconds or so as an opportunity to intentionally slow your breathing, calm your thoughts, to wash away some of the tension and stress, and to rub-in some good vibes.

Last, but not least, who can nurses and midwives reach-out to if they need a hand?

Hopefully you have, family, friends and workmates who can support you, but it’s good to know that you also have a 24/7 avenue to support on hand.

Nurse & Midwife Support is for all Australian nurses and midwives, including students and AINs. Check out the website and save the number in your phone in case you or a colleagues needs it one day. 

That’s it.

Thanks for watching this ridiculously short intro to self compassion. 

There is elaboration, links to data and resources, and a longer version of this video available via the QR code and website. 

(in case the TikTok version at the top of the page doesn’t work, here it is on ye olde YouTube)

Here’s a link to the Prezi used to make the visuals. Video recorded at home in the bathroom, then edited and uploaded from an iPad (in the loungeroom).


Is there anything sadder than a middle aged man on TikTok? 

No. There is not.

Paul McNamara, 19 July 2022

Short URL – TikTok try-hard, more like it 🙂

ieMR MHA autotext

It’s pretty common in my job to field enquiries re whether hospital inpatients should be seen by mental health even if they decline. It’s not for me to say, of course, that’s articulated elsewhere in legislation (link to Queensland (2016) Mental Health Act here – BTW it’s a 641 page PDF). My job is to do my best in clearly communicating what’s appropriate and legal.

As you’ll see in the brief (16 seconds) video above, it’s good practice to document something re these sorts of enquiries. I usually do a quick SBAR thingy, and then – for completeness – drop a plain-language summary of mental health act criteria (which I have saved as ieMR autotext) into the file entry.

For those interested, a copy of the content of this ieMR autotext is included below.


Discussion re consent vs involuntary psychiatric assessment.

The Mental Health Act 2016 provides a legislative framework for the treatment and care of persons with a mental illness without their consent.

One of the key rights under the Act is that a person is presumed to have capacity to make decisions about their treatment and care, and the right to consent, or not consent, to healthcare.

Involuntary mental health assessment can be imposed by completing a Recommendation for Assessment. This can be completed by a doctor or authorised mental health practitioner who has examined the person within the preceding 7 days.

The Recommendation for Assessment asks for this information:

1. The reasons you believe the person may have a mental illness

2. The reasons you believe the person may not have capacity to consent to be treated for the illness:

3. The reasons you believe that not providing involuntary treatment for the illness may result in:
i. imminent serious harm to the person or others; or
ii. the person suffering serious mental or physical deterioration

4. The reason you believe that there appears to be no less restrictive way for the person to receive treatment and care for the person’s mental illness

Recommendation for Assessment can be accessed via this link: 


So What?

The blog post is not just about the content. The idea behind doing a screen capture video is to show people the advantage of having ieMR autotext options for you/your speciality area. Is there any stuff you find yourself typing into patient notes repeatedly? You’re busy enough – get the machine to do it for you.

It’s a see-one, do-one, teach-one kind of thing.

Well, that’s the idea, anyway.

Two blog posts in two days? WTF?

It’s a “just while I’m thinking about it” thing.

Back in 2019 I shared some of the ieMR Liaison Psych Templates I use, and yesterday I plonked the ieMR autotext I use with 1:1 AINs/Specials. Also, as announced previously, I’m mothballing the meta4RN blog in a couple of months, so if I don’t get this stuff online now I never will.

Don’t worry. I’m not intending to clog-up the internet with daily blog posts. 🙂


That’s it. Thanks for visiting. As always, you’re welcome to leave feedback in the comments section below.

If there’s anything you’d like to re-use/adapt that’s OK with me: this work (as with all meta4RN content) is covered by Creative Commons licence BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Paul McNamara, 16 July 2022

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Info for 1:1 AIN/Special

This blog has mentioned creating autotext/templates as an advantage that electronic medical records offer previously (here). Recently this has popped-up in conversations again, as members of the nursing team at the hospital I work at aims to get smarter with how we support Assistants In Nursing (AINs) to safely support patients.

A worry I have as a specialist mental health nurse in a general hospital is that AINs are often allocated as a “nursing special” when there are concerns that a suicidal person may abscond and/or harm themselves again, or to support and monitor the safety of a person who is medically unwell because of acute relapse of an eating disorder. These are people with some of the most complex needs in the general hospital, and AINs are the least qualified (and lowest paid) members of frontline clinical workforce. I’ve written about this concern previously (here).

It’s risky business. Risky for the patient. Risky for the AIN. Risky for the Registered Nurse (RN) or Enrolled Nurse (EN) delegating tasks to the AIN.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia RN Standards for Practice addresses this: “The RN appropriately delegates aspects of practice to enrolled nurses and others, according to enrolled nurse’s scope of practice or others’ clinical or non-clinical roles” [see Standard 6.3].

The Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (ANMF) AIN position statement elaborates: “The assistant in nursing assists registered nurses and enrolled nurses in the provision of delegated aspects of nursing care within the limits specified by their education, training and experience. At all times, assistants in nursing work within a plan of nursing care developed by the registered nurse, and work under the supervision and direction of a registered nurse and, where deemed appropriate by the registered nurse, an enrolled nurse.” [see Number 6].

The ANMF position statement on Specialling includes that “all staff providing specialling, regardless of qualification, should receive an appropriately comprehensive handover from the registered nurse or midwife delegating care“, and elaborates that this should include thorough documentation [see Number 7].*

An RN or EN can delegate tasks to an AIN, but they can not delegate responsibility. It is with that in mind that I’m sharing the content of the ieMR autotext/template that I’ve been using for the last few years.

The content below is individualised to the person’s circumstances (ie: additions and subtractions are common). To my slow-typing fingers, it’s helpful to start with a pretty comprehensive framework and tweak it from there.

Hopefully you’ll note the intentionally non-technical language and tone. The aim is to have a document that clearly describes the delegated tasks. To my way of thinking its important to do so in a way that models and promotes understanding, safety and empathy.



Why is XXXX here?

XXXX has simple explanation of the medical problem, and has recently experienced symptoms of deteriorating mental health, including:

Context/contributing factors for this include:

Why am I here?

To keep XXXX safe.

is not/is
considered to be at risk of intentional self harm,
is at high risk of absconding/misadventure.

For XXXX’s protection they have been placed under a
Recommendation for Assessment which expires @
Treatment Authority
– this is a part of the Mental Health Act that allows the hospital to keep people in hospital even if they want to leave
– if XXXX were to insist on leaving it is not you job to physically restrain them; it is your job to let the RN/TL know immediately

What should I do?

1. Introduce yourself by name and role at the beginning of the shift.

2. One of the first things you should do at the beginning of your shift is to do a thorough scan of the room to make sure there are no sharps (eg: scissors, syringes with needles insitu) or other potentially risky items in the room. It’s a good idea to re-check the room after any procedures/interventions (eg: after wound care, cannula insertion).

3. Ask XXXX if there are any specific concerns that they need a hand with now. They may speak of unrealistic ideas: please use your judgement and liaise with RN/TL if unsure.

does/does not
need to be supervised in the bathroom/toilet.

does/does not
have to stay in bed,
can not leave the ward.

XXXX may find this frustrating – it’s OK to make it clear that this is at the insistence of the Mental Health team.

6. Meal Support (highlighted because this is really important for XXXX)
– if you have not done the course already, please go to iLearn and do the online training called “The Shared Table” – it’s also available via EDQ:
– the key message from the course is that distraction and/or mindful calmness assist at meal times.
Please encourage bathroom use PRIOR to meal times, and discourage bathroom use for 30 minutes AFTER meal times.
Meal completion times:
– 20 minutes for snacks, then – if snack not completed – on to supplementary nutrition as ordered
– 30 minutes for meals, then – if meal not completed – on to supplementary nutrition as ordered
Documentation of meal completion:
– please complete the nutrition chart after each meal – if unable to complete meals, please let the RN know so that s/he can facilitate supplementary nutrition as per Dietitian’s plan

7. Naturally, it’s OK to have a chat with with XXXX. Wondering what to talk about? Try these ideas:
– steer conversation away from dark and depressing topics towards the more everyday and cheerful topics (eg: current news stories. movies, TV shows, sport, pets/animal, books, the weather, hobbies/recreation activities, travel/holidays) . This knack for friendly, distracting conversation is known as “Phatic Chat”, more info via
– sometimes simple hand gestures and body language can be used to help people slow down and get their thoughts organised
– it’s probably obvious to you already, but just in case: it is inappropriate to share your personal experiences of mental health problems/recovery, or talk about your religious/spiritual beliefs. That boundary between our personal lives and professional lives is important.
One last thing on this topic:  it’s very important to be aware that talking about food/diets/weight loss/exercise/physical appearance and related topics with someone who is experiencing disordered nutrition can cause harm.  

8. Aim for a low stimulus environment.
When experiencing agitation it is helpful if there is not too much noise or stimulation.
– one of the strategies for this is to sit in the TV/sun room, rather than stay in the shared room all the time
– if a single room will become available, that would be helpful too

9. Stay close enough to ensure that XXXX
doesn’t leave hospital
doesn’t harm themself
doesn’t harm anyone else who is vulnerable (this includes you)
– although we are not expecting you to be in harm’s way, it is always sensible to be closer to the door than the person you are caring for: sometimes we need to leave the room quickly to keep ourselves safe from a physically agitated person
– if XXXX is tiring of having company and/or is sleeping, it is fine to move your chair outside the doorway, rather than in the room

10. Sometimes XXXX gets a bit sweary. Mostly this is not verbal abuse directed at you, but is just “lalochezia” (emotional relief through using foul language). More about that via

What next?

The mental health team will be reviewing XXXX daily. If there are any changes in expectations for the Special AIN we will update this info sheet.

If you have any suggestions on changes to these guidelines, please jot them down – we can modify this info sheet PRN.

Thanks very much for looking after XXXX – you are playing an important part in their recovery.

Paul McNamara
Clinical Nurse Consultant
Consultation Liaison Psychiatry Service
ext 99999


End Notes

That’s it. Thanks for visiting.

If you have ideas for improvements, please contribute them below in the comments section – wiki style 🙂

I’m very comfortable with people re-using/adapting the content on the proviso that they – like me – share it freely as per Creative Commons licence BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Paul McNamara, 15 July 2022

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*Addit on 17/07/22: Many thanks to Tara Nipe for bringing the ANMF Specialling position statement to my attention. BTW: It’s worth checking-out Tara’s blog, Twitter and general online profile. Tara’s one of the Australian pioneers of nurses on social media.

Mental Health Nursing making an impact

Recently I trawled through the history of the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (IJMHN) – if you’re curious please see this editorial and this blog post.

Amongst the things revealed was the encouraging upward trend in the Impact Factor – a metric that reflects how many citations individual academic journals attract over a two year period. I was especially encouraged that a targeted social media strategy, together with the increased volume of articles, coincide with the Impact Factor upward trend since 2017.

Today this arrived in an email:

The 2022 Journal Citation Reports were released overnight, and I am very pleased to let you know that International Journal of Mental Health Nursing’s 2021 Impact Factor is 5.100 – a significant increase from 3.503 for 2020. This result places the Journal in the rankings: 2/125 (Nursing), 2/123 (Nursing (Social Science)), 57/155 (Psychiatry), 43/142 (Psychiatry (Social Science)).

Alison Bell, Journal Publishing Manager, Wiley, email of 29 June 2022

That is – to put it bluntly – bloody amazing!

Don’t believe me? Look at the chart below…

International Journal of Mental Health Nursing Impact Factor (2010 – 2021)

The journal had very humble beginnings. It was just an idea amongst a few Mental Health Nurses in Australia in July 1978. The first issue consisting of just two articles and editorial followed in September 1980 (source and source).

2021 data reveals this humble little journal is now ranked the second most impactful nursing journal on the planet.


Mental Health Nursing is punching above its weight. Mental Health Nursing ranks 5th as principal specialty, after Aged Care, Medical, Surgical and Peri-operative (source and source). Yet, we have a journal that rates 2nd most cited nursing journal, behind the International Journal of Nursing Studies (IJNS).

That’s something to celebrate – not just for the authors, reviewers and editors who put in the hard work to make it happen – but for all Mental Health Nurses.


Please spread word about the impact of the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing – it’s a good news story 🙂

Paul McNamara, 29 June 2022

Short URL

IJMHN LinkedIn post

IJMHN Facebook post

Nurses on the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours List

Extracting information from below is a list/summary of the 13 Nurses named on the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.



Paula Maree Duffy PSM
Public Service Medal (PSM)
Worongary, Queensland
For outstanding public service in nursing and the response to the COVID-19

Paula Duffy has worked for the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service for 20 years and was promoted to the role of Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Patient Experience, after formerly holding the position of Executive Director of Integrated Ambulatory and Community Services, incorporating one of the largest Emergency Departments in Australia.

Ms Duffy’s professional relationships and concentrated efforts across the organisation have been fundamental to the management of COVID-19 at Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service. Extremely well regarded by the leadership in the Queensland Ambulance and Police service, her strong leadership has been the glue that helped the Gold Coast navigate the challenges of being the first region to experience the Omicron variant peak in Queensland. She coordinated the hospital response which required the opening of 9 dedicated COVID-19 wards and 2 ICU pods.

Ms Duffy is a leader across all aspects of the COVID-19 response, ranging from the creation of testing centres in the community to facility screening desks, quarantine hotels, dedicated COVID-19 wards, virtual wards and partnering with private hospitals to increase public patient capacity. For the last two years she has been the key contact for the Gold Coast, reporting to the state bodies and coordinating complex arrangements across the city to support the COVID response.

The contribution by Paula Duffy to her profession, and the high regard in which she is held, is testament to her quality standards and consistent contribution to the public health sector over decades.


Caroline Farmer PSM
Public Service Medal (PSM)
Padstow, New South Wales
For outstanding public service to New South Wales Health, particularly during the
COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently serving as the Director of Nursing & Midwifery and Clinical Governance within the Western Sydney Local Health District, Ms Caroline Farmer has made significant contributions to public health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June 2020, Ms Farmer’s executive leadership was pivotal during Western Sydney Local Health District’s (WSLHD) initial COVID-19 response. She liaised with key staff from the Commonwealth, the New South Wales Ministry of Health and residential aged care facilities to ensure the availability of adequate nursing workforce to support local outbreak sites.

Ms Farmer also ensured the coordination of a nursing workforce to disability homes, local facilities, vaccinations centres and the Greater Western Sydney COVID-19 Community Accommodation. As a result of the continual demand for nursing staff, Ms Farmer established a District COVID-19 Nursing Workforce Unit which provided a centralised point for the coordination of nursing staff deployment across Western Sydney. Throughout this time, as the WSLHD Emergency Operations Centre’s executive lead for Planning, Ms Farmer was integral in the coordination and finalisation of a number of key initiatives, such as the WSLHD Intensive Care Workforce Plan, the COVID-19 Ward Model of Care and the WSLHD Clinical Governance Safety and Quality Priorities.

Ms Farmer continues to foster the next generation of leaders amongst nurses and midwives in WSLHD, ensuring this cohort have the right skill set, insight and vision to drive improvements in health care services and future innovations. In recognition of this priority, in February 2021, a pilot WSLHD Nursing & Midwifery Leadership Program was launched, with 12 participants from across the region selected for the opportunity to develop and grow on their leadership journey. Upon graduation, this cohort were empowered to enact upon their future leadership goals, influence positive change at a local level through shared learnings, actions and individual leadership practice, and effectively support service operations to deliver better care and services to patients across Western Sydney.

Ms Farmer is an exemplary public servant who is a role model for collaborative leadership and innovative contributions. She is a trusted voice within the public health community and shows unwavering commitment and resilience to deliver results.


Wendy Leeanne Hellebrand OAM
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division
For service to the community through a range of roles.

Lions V Districts Cancer Foundation, Lions Australia

  • Skin Check and Dermoscopy Coordinator, Mobile Skin Check Project, since 2019.

District 201V2, Lions Australia

  • Chairman, Zone 3, since 2002.
  • Chairperson, Family Welfare and Children’s Mobility, current.
  • Past Region Chairperson.
  • Past Chairperson, Drug Awareness Program.
  • Past Chair, Independent Third Person Program.
  • Past Chairperson, Youth of the Year, Young People in Service and Youth Exchange Program.

Inverleigh Leigh Valley Lions Club

  • Past President.
  • Past Vice President.
  • Past Treasurer
  • Past Secretary.
  • Liaison Officer, Campaign Sight First Program, 2007-2008.
  • Community Health and Welfare Officer, since 1999.
  • Member, since 1995.


  • Council Member, Royal Geelong Agricultural and Pastoral Society, since approx 2000.


  • Practice Nurse, Bannockburn Surgery, current.
  • Past Sexual Health Nurse and Counsellor, (then) Headspace Geelong.

Awards and Recognition include:

  • Rural Nurse Award, Rural Workforce Agency Victoria, 2015.
  • District Governor’s Star Award, District 201V2, Lions Australia, 2012.
  • Melvin Jones Fellow Award, Inverleigh Leigh Valley Lions Club.
  • Leo Tyquin Award, Victorian Lions Foundation, 2009.


Jennifer Mary Jones OAM
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division
New South Wales
For service to family and child health nursing.

Sydney Local Health District

  • Clinical Nurse Consultant, Child and Family Health Nursing Service (CFHN), and the Family Partnership Coordinator, since 2009.
  • Clinical Nurse Consultant within Community Health, since 1990.
  • Staff Member and Researcher, Sydney Institute of Women, Children and their Families, current.


  • Honorary Associate, Community Health Nursing, Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Sydney, since 2015.
  • Honorary Affiliate, University of Technology Sydney, 2018, and Lecturer, 10 years.

Nursing – Other

  • Clinical Supervisor to CFHN and Midwives Far West Area Health Service, Royal Flying Doctor Service and Maari Ma Aboriginal Health Service, 2001-2006.
  • Worked within operating theatres and emergency department, Children’s Hospital Westmead, 1995-2005.
  • Registered Nurse, since 1976.

Displaced Persons

  • Child and Family Health Clinical Coordinator, Services for Displaced Persons from Kosovo and East Timor, Operation Safehaven, Australian Government, 1999-2000.
  • Nurse, Child and Family Health Clinic, Dili, 2000.
  • Research Project, Health Outcomes for Displaced Persons from East Timor, 2000.

Maternal, Child and Family Health Nurses’ Australia

  • Former New South Wales Vice-President, 10 years.
  • Long-term Member.
  • Chair, National Conference, Sydney, 2000.
  • Former Committee Member.


  • Member and Volunteer Lifesaver, Manly Surf Life Saving Club, 15 years.
  • Supporter, Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales, current.


Therese Anne Lee OAM
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division
Bongaree, Queensland
For service to nursing.

The College of Emergency Nursing Australasia

  • Committee Member, Queensland Branch, 15 years.
  • Former President, Queensland Branch.
  • Former National Committee Member.

Flight Nurses Australia

  • Founding Member, 1995-2002.
  • Committee Member, 1995-2002.

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

  • Nursing Director, Safety and Quality Unit, 2011-2019.
  • Assistant Nursing Director, 2010-2011.
  • Former Aeromedical and Road Retrieval Nurse.

Queensland Health

  • Manager, Metro South Area Health Service, 2008-2010.

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons

  • Coordinator, Early Management of Severe Trauma Course, since 2005.
  • Member, current.

Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service

  • Former Chief Flight Nurse, Nambour.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Humanitarian Overseas Medal, 2006.
  • Australia Day Achievement Medal, Banda Aceh, 2006.
  • Australia Day Achievement Medal, Medical Services Olympic Games, 2001.


Victor Mannin McConvey OAM
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division
Elwood, Victoria
For service to people with Parkinson’s, and to nursing.

International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society

  • Chair, Global Task Force on Palliative Care, since 2016.
  • Chair, Health Care Professional Special Interest Group, since 2016.
  • Member, Education Committee, current.
  • Member, since 2009.

Parkinson’s Victoria

  • Clinical Nurse Consultant, since 2006.
  • Manager, State-wide Health Information and Education Team.

Australian College of Nursing

  • Inaugural Co-chair, Movement Disorder and Parkinson’s Nurses Faculty, 2011-2012.
  • Member, since 1997.

Health – Other

  • Member/Supporter, World Parkinson’s Coalition, current.
  • Member, Advanced Practice/Nurse Practitioner Network, International Council of Nursing.
  • Registered Nurse, since 1990.

Professional – Other

  • Appointed, first Parkinson’s Disease Nurse Specialist, Leeds, United Kingdom, 2005-2006.
  • Charge Nurse – Stroke Rehabilitation, Leeds Teaching Hospital, Leeds, United Kingdom, 2004-2005.
  • Nurse Unit Manager, Neurological Unit, Calvary Health Care, Bethlehem, Melbourne, 1997-2004.
  • Associate Unit Manager – Acute Medical/Cardiology, John Fawkner Hospital, 1996-1997.
  • Associate Unit Manager – Continuing Care Unit, Fairfield Hospital, 1995-1996.
  • Associate Charge Nurse, Alfred Health Care Group, 1994-1995.
  • Registered General Nurse, Worthing and District Hospital, West Sussex, United Kingdom, 1993-1994.
  • Registered General Nurse, Monash Medical Centre, 1991-1993.

Awards and recognition include:

  • June Allen Practice Enhancement Fellowship, Nurses Board of Victoria, 2008.
  • ANZAN Prize for Best Neurology Paper delivered at the ANNA Conference and Scientific Meeting, Australasian Neuroscience Nurses Association, 2007.


Michele Rumsey AM
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division
Sydney, New South Wales
For significant service to nursing, and to health care policy.

World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre, University of Technology Sydney

  • Director, since 2008.
  • Vice Chancellor’s University of Technology Sydney (UTS) GAP Summit for the Pacific and Small Island Nations Steering Committee, 2020-2022.
  • WHO South Pacific Regional expert Pacific working group on Basic Psychosocial Skills, 2020.
  • ACFID PNG Working Group.
  • ACFID Research Development and Impact.
  • WHO WPRO Regional expert consultation on the future of mental health in the Western Pacific, 2021.
  • Member, WHO Technical Expert Group Global Education Academy, 2021.
  • WHO HQ Steering Group for the Nursing and Midwifery Global Community of Practice (NMGCOP).
  • Founding Member of Advisory Board for UTS International Development research and Impact Network, since 2019.
  • Member, Steering Committee, State of World Nursing Report, 2020.
  • PNG National Steering Committee on strengthening health workforce.
  • Contributor, Health Workforce Strategic Plan – Kiribati, 2018.
  • Leader, Pacific Open Learning Health Net Review, 2017-2018.
  • Director, Maternal and Child Health Initiative Papua New Guinea, 2012-2016.
  • Regulation Advisor, Papua New Guinea, 2014.
  • Recipient, Human Rights Award – Social Inclusion, 2014.

Nursing – Other

  • Secretariat, South Pacific Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Alliance Secretariat, since 2008.
  • Assistant Secretary-General, Global Network of World Health Organisation Collaborating Centres for Nursing and Midwifery, 2014-2018 and since 2022.

World Health Organisation Europe

  • WHO HQ Steering Group for the Nursing and Midwifery Global Community of Practice (NMGCOP), since 2021.
  • Manager, Australian component, Mobility of Health Professionals Report,2012.
  • Project Officer, 1994-1995.

General Nursing Administration, World Health Organisation

  • Director, Health Policy and Service Design Unit, Western Pacific Region, 2021.
  • Director, WPRO Adaptation and implementation of Basic Psychosocial Skills: A Guide for COVID-19 Responders in selected Pacific Island Countries, 2020-2022.
  • Director, nursing and midwifery education and regulation, Pacific Island countries, 2021- 2022.
  • Director, WHO and DFAT PNG Health Strengthening Education Program for Nursing and Community Health Workers, since 2021.
  • Director, DFAT Papua New Guinea (PNG) ANGAU Hospital redevelopment Project Maternal Health 2020-2022.
  • Director, Papua New Guinea Schools of Nursing Audit, AusAID, 2012.
  • Director, International Council of Nurses, 1997-2005.
  • Ethics Officer, United Kingdom Central Council for Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors, 1994-1998.
  • Project Manager, Royal College of Nursing, 1991-1995.


Mary (Maria) Said AM
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division
Quakers Hill, New South Wales
For significant service to anaphylaxis treatment, education and prevention.

Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia

  • Chief Executive Officer, Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia, since 2012.
  • National President, FACTS/Anaphylaxis Australia, 1999-2012.

Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA)

  • Associate Member, current.
  • ASCIA Member, New South Wales Anaphylaxis Working Party, current.
  • Member, various committees including the Anaphylaxis Committee, Education Committee, Paediatric Committee and Insect Allergy Working Party, Drug Allergy Working Party, current.

European Academy of Clinical Immunology and Allergy Patient Organisation

  • Committee Member, current.
  • Co-Chair, Asian Pacific Alliance, current.
  • Member, International Life Sciences Institute food labelling/allergen thresholds working group.

Allergy Research

  • National Co-Chair, National Allergy Strategy, since 2014.
  • Australian Representative, Patient Organisations Committee, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, current.
  • Adjunct Research Fellow, Health and Medical Sciences, Pharmacy, University of Western Australia, since 2019.
  • Involved with the formation of the Allergen Bureau.
  • Committee Member, Tick Induced Allergies Research and Awareness (TiARA), since 2013.

Publications and Education

  • Associate investigator in several research studies.
  • Co-Author, a range of publications in medical and food industry journals.
  • Chapter Contributor, Allergen Management in the Food Industry, and other food industry and medical publications.
  • Launched first Australian Food Allergy Week.

Early Career

  • Registered Nurse, Blacktown Hospital, 1982-1997.
  • Educator, Hawkesbury Agricultural College, 1985-1987.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Neighbour of the Year, Blacktown City, 2004.
  • Ministerial Community Service Award, 1999.


Lesley Salem AM
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division
Hamilton, New South Wales
For significant service to nursing, and to Indigenous health.


  • Nurse Practitioner, Generalist and Chronic Disease, Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities, New South Wales and Queensland, since 2010.
  • Various nursing positions, Hunter New England Hospital and Health Service, 1985-2010.
  • Involved with the establishment of Gidgee Healing at Doomadgee.

Nursing – Other

  • Mentor and Teacher to Nurse Practitioner Candidates, current.
  • Guest Speaker, Donna Diers Oration, Australian Nurse Practitioner conference, 2021.
  • Keynote Speaker, Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), National Conference, 2018.
  • Guest Speaker, Federal Indigenous Women’s United Nations delegate, 2009.
  • Guest Speaker, Nephrology Nurse Practitioner Model of Care, WHO, Geneva, 2008.
  • Indigenous Resources Advisor, Kidney Health Australia, 2008.
  • Member, National Working Party for the development of Remote Area Renal Service Standards for Indigenous Australians.

Professional Associations

  • Member, New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association, since 1990.
  • Member, Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association, current.
  • Member, Australia and New Zealand Nephrologist Society (ANZSN), current.
  • Member, Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP), current.
  • Member, The Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives (CATSINaM), current.
  • Member, Wannaruah Lands Council, current.
  • Former Member, Advisory Group, Nurse Practitioner Accreditation Standards on behalf of Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council (ANMAC).


  • Member, Nurse Practitioner Advisory Committee, University of Newcastle, current.
  • Member, Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Taskforce Review Nurse Practitioner Taskforce, 2019.
  • Represented CATSINam at the Rural Health Roundtable, 2015.
  • Scientific Program Member, National Medicines Symposium, 2010.
  • Advisor for development of Indigenous Resources, Kidney Health Australia, 2008.
  • Former Member, National Working Party for the development of Remote Area Renal Service Standards for Indigenous Australians.
  • Former Member, Nurse Practitioner Advisory Committee, University of Newcastle.
  • Federal Indigenous Women’s Delegate on the Diplomatic Party to the United Nations.


  • Volunteer, Development of Bush Tucker Farm, Rutherford Technology High School, 2007.
  • Volunteer, Development and Delivery of Aboriginal Health Worker Chronic Kidney Disease Education, 2007.
  • Volunteer, Teaching and Mentoring advanced Nephrology Nurses in Clinical Assessment, 2005-2010.
  • Artist, since 1990.


  • Iconography and Symbolism of Eastern NSW Aboriginal Art, 2015.
  • Bush Tucker in Kidney Failure and Diabetes, 2006.
  • The Health Management Plan for End Stage Kidney Disease, 2006.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Australian Nurse Practitioner of the Year, 2015.
  • Reconciliation Aboriginal Acquisitive Artwork Prize, 2013.
  • NSW Aboriginal Health Award: Innovation in Chronic Care, 2008.
  • NSW Premier’s Award, Fairness and Opportunity Award – Gold Award ‘Safeguarding our Nations – an Aboriginal Screening project, 2007.
  • First Indigenous Nurse Practitioner, 2003.


Shillar Sibanda OAM
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division
Point Cook, Victoria
For service to the African community of Victoria.

Africa Day Australia

  • President, since 2018.
  • Founding Member, since 2012.

Community Roles – Other

  • Committee Member, African Music and Cultural Festival, since 2016.
  • Committee Member, African Australian Communities Leadership Forum, current.
  • Chairperson, Hand 2 Hand Sincedane Charity, current (helping to rebuild schools in Zimbabwe).
  • Founding Member, Commemorative Committee Melbourne, Nelson Mandela Day Australia, since 2013.
  • Supporter, Unite to Fight Cancer for Peter McCullum, Mother’s Day Classic for Breast Cancer, St Vincent’s Fun Run.

Zimbabwe Community in Australia, Victoria

  • President, 2013-2015.
  • Committee Member, Interim Board, 2020.
  • Committee Member, 2005-2013.
  • Co-Founder, Zimbabwe Community Language School, 2011.
  • Founding Member, 2005.

Professional Career

  • Clinical Coordinator, Forensicare, since 2018.
  • Forensic Psychiatric Nurse, St Vincent’s Hospital, 2009-2018.
  • Psychiatric Nurse, Royal Melbourne Hospital, 2007-2009.
  • Registered Nurse, since 2006.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Premier’s Volunteer Championship Award, 2018.
  • Chairman’s Award, Zimbabwe Achievers Awards Australia, 2018.
  • Multicultural Award for Excellence, Africa Day Australia, 2013.
  • Ambassador for Peace, Universal Peace Foundation, 2010.


Vicki Anne Simpson PSM
Public Service Medal (PSM)
Coffs Harbour, New South Wales
For outstanding public service to the Mid North Coast Local Health District,
particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs Vicki Simpson is currently serving as the Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Service
Reform, and as the Health Service Functional Area Coordinator in the Mid North Coast Local Health District.

Mrs Simpson’s professionalism, resilience and leadership has been influential in the Health District’s response to catastrophic bushfires, a once in a generation flood and the COVID-19 pandemic over the last three years.

In an unprecedented and evolving global pandemic, Mrs Simpson has been exceptional in her role as the Health Service Functional Area Coordinator. Developing and rapidly implementing strategies for her nursing staff to ensure a well-managed response to COVID-19, she also took on the responsibilities of coordinating logistics, equipment (including ventilators and personal protective equipment), testing, and emergency accommodation. Further, she led early morning planning meetings coordinated with the State Health Emergency Operations Centre and liaised closely with community partners such as aged care facilities and local councils to ensure a coordinated COVID-19 response.

Mrs Simpson also spearheaded the mass vaccination program for the Health District,
resulting in more than 95 percent of the eligible local population reaching double vaccination status.

Mrs Simpson is committed to providing opportunities for First Nations people to embark on careers in nursing and midwifery. She has mentored staff through the trainee and cadetship process to senior nursing and midwifery roles, something she is most proud of.

With over 30 years of public service, Mrs Simpson is an integral part of the Mid North Coast Local Health District. She is an energetic, compassionate, and inspiring leader who is enormously respected among her peers and patients for her exemplary standard of professionalism and service delivery.


Kathleen Mary Sloane AM
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division
Richmond, Victoria
For significant service to nursing, and to global women’s health.

International Continence Society

  • Member, Developing World Committee, 2017-2020.
  • Member, current.

Continence Foundation of Australia

  • Member, Scientific Committee, NCOI Conference, Melbourne, 2022.
  • Member, current.

Presenter/Clinician, Uro-gynaecology workshops in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, including:

  • Myanmar, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
  • Cambodia, 2019.
  • Bangladesh, 2003, 2004 and 2018.
  • Ghana, 2014.
  • Ethiopia, 2009.
  • Fiji, 2005.

Victoria/Tasmania Branch, Continence Nurses Society Australia

  • President, 2010-2011.
  • Committee Member, 2002-2005 and 2007-2011.
  • Former Clinical Preceptor, Pelvic Floor Workshops.
  • Member, current.

St Vincent’s Health, Melbourne

  • Team Leader and Clinical Nurse Consultant, Continence Clinic, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, since 2008.

Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne

  • Clinic Coordinator and Clinical Nurse Consultant, Uro-gynaecology, 2002-2008.
  • Continence Nurse Advisor, 2001-2002.
  • Midwife and Clinical Nurse Specialist, 1990-1999.

Nursing – Other

  • Continence Nurse Advisor, National Continence Helpline, 1999-2002.
  • Former Critical Care Nurse, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne.
  • Registered General Nurse, since 1983.
  • Registered Midwife, since 1990.
  • Member, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.
  • Member, Continence Nurses Society Australia.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Connie Award, Continence Care Champion, 2013.
  • Jean Smith Prize, for Excellence in Women’s Health Nursing, Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, 2007.


Karolyn Vaughan OAM
Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division
For service to nursing.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Examiners

  • Director, Asia Pacific and the Africa Region, since 2006.
  • International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, since 1992.


  • Clinical Nurse Consultant, Child and Family Health, Wentworth Area Health Service, 1997-2006.
  • Clinical Nurse Consultant, Karitane, mid 1990s.
  • Community Nurse and Early Childhood Nurse, Western Suburbs of Sydney, 1990s.
  • Registered Midwife, since 1989.
  • Registered Nurse, since 1986.



Too long; didn’t read?

Tweet the list of 13 Nurses named on the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours List instead. 🙂

Paula Duffy PSM, Caroline Farmer PSM, Wendy Hellebrand OAM, Jennifer Jones OAM, Therese Lee OAM, Victor McConvey OAM, Michele Rumsey AM, Mary (Maria) Said AM, Lesley Salem AM, Shillar Sibanda OAM, Vicki Simpson PSM, Kathleen Sloane AM. Karolyn Vaughan OAM


End Notes


  1. Using the contraction “nurs”, search each of the PDFs here:
  2. Weed out those who work in plant nurseries 🙂
  3. Check ambiguities here:
  4. Drop all titles and arrange alphabetically
  5. Repeat annually

Who Will Collate Next Year’s List?

This will be the last year for the meta4RN blog/collating these lists (see “Beginning of the End“). Why don’t you take over the job next year on a blog/site of your own? As per the methodology above, it’s a pretty easy way to attract a couple of thousand hits in about 48 hours. More importantly, you will help spotlight achievements of nurses without resorting to those cringeworthy hero tropes (see “Batman is a hero. I am a health professional.“).

Missing Anyone?

Please let me know via the comments section below if I missed any Nurses on the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Naturally, I’m happy to correct any oversights.

Queen’s Birthday? WTF?

What the hell is Australia doing celebrating our best and brightest by linking them to the not-actual-birthday of an unelected foreign multi-millionaire? It makes no sense. We should get behind the Australian Republic Movement, get the Union Jack off our flag, and get the Queens’s head (soon to be Charles’ head) off our coins. Australia has a history that is much, much longer than the British royal family’s history. See:

When Australia becomes a republic we should get a new flag. One that repels racists/extremists.
For more info about this John Joseph Australia flag painting see:
(although I – a whitefella –  love the look/vibe of this alternative flag, it’s problematic)

Paul McNamara, 13 June 2022

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Happy Anniversary International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Since late 2016 I have been the Social Media Editor for the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (IJMHN). If you’re interested in how that started, see The years that have followed have resulted in heaps of Tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn updates. As a byproduct, I’ve been keeping a closer eye on the journal than I would have otherwise, and stumbled across the fact that 2022 marks the anniversary of three important milestones in the journal’s history:

✅ 30 years as a fully refereed journal (1992)
✅ 20 years as the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (2002)
✅ 10 years on social media (2012)

That observation has been explored and elaborated-on via my first (and probably only) editorial. Please read and share the article far and wide:

McNamara, P. (2022), Happy anniversary IJMHN. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

Below are some abbreviated highlights and a video summary from the editorial.

What’s in a name?

1980 Journal of the Australian Congress of Mental Health Nurses
1990 Australian Journal of Mental Health Nursing
1994 Australian and New Zealand Journal of Mental Health Nursing
2002 International Journal of Mental Health Nursing

Figure 3. Evolution of the Journal (1980–2022).


1980 Dennis Cowell
1982 Ron Dee
1986 Owen Sollis
1987 Linda Salomons
1988 Andrew King
1990 Michael Clinton
1999 Michael Hazelton
2004 Brenda Happell 
2015 Kim Usher

I have not attempted to discover the names of everyone who has served on the journal’s editorial board – there would many dozens (in the hundreds?) of people of who have contributed over the years. For what it’s worth, below is a May/June 2022 snapshot of the editorial board.

Online list:

Beyond the Walled Gardens

It is sensible to promote the work of IJMHN authors/researchers beyond the walled gardens of mental health nursing and academia. Below are links to the journal’s first excursions from behind the paywalls and exclusion zones that prevent people seeing the work and research of mental health nurses, and out to ‘the village square’ that is social media:

Twitter 2012
Facebook 2013
LinkedIn 2021

As I’ve argued previously (here and here), there’s not much value in spending weeks/months/years doing research, then pushing through the tedium of academic writing, and finally jumping through the flaming hoops of peer review only for your work to sit around unread and gathering dust. Authors and the institutions that support them should promote the paper to its greatest readership. The IJMHN has a strategy to promote mental health nursing’s research and work on social media – do you?

Figure 4. Example of Altmetric Attention Score.

Average Number of IJMHN Articles

2000–2006 = 35 per year
2007–2017 = 62 per year
2018–2021 = 135 per year

Figure 1. Number of IJMHN Articles Published (2000=2021).

Making an Impact

The first IJMHN Impact Factor was 1.427 (2010). At time of writing, the most recent available Impact Factor is 3.503 (2020). That’s pretty amazing – the IJMHN is the highest-ranked mental health/psychiatric nursing journal, and is rated as the 5th most cited nursing journal in the world (in a field of 124 nursing journals).

A targeted social media strategy together with the increased volume of articles coincide with the Impact Factor upward trend starting in 2017.

Time will need to pass before we know whether the most recently reported Impact Factor is an anomaly of the pandemic. I make this observation because, at time of writing, the three most cited IJMHN papers are all from 2020, and each of these highly-cited articles discuss contemporary-at-the-time COVID-19 issues (see the “Most Cited” tab here:

Figure 2. IJMHN Impact Factor (2010–2020).

Connecting with IJMHN



too long; didn’t read?

Watch the video – it’s less than 2 minutes long, and has a cool musical accompaniment (‘Dashed Ambitions’ by Moby, kindly provided gratis via

(video made by first making a Prezi)

End Notes

In case you missed it above, here’s the citation and link to the editorial:

McNamara, P. (2022), Happy anniversary IJMHN. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing.

And the PDF version is here:

Thanks for reading this far. I would be grateful if you share either this blog page or – preferably – the article itself. Sharing is caring 🙂

As always, feedback is welcome via the comments section below.

Paul McNamara, 29 May 2022

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Goodbye Flo. Hello Hildegard. 

Let’s start with five brief facts:

1️⃣ 12 May = the day Florence Nightingale was born in 1820 = since 1974, the annually celebrated International Nurses Day.
2️⃣ As far as the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) is concerned, there is no such thing as a specialist mental health nurse [source + source]. In fact, as far as NMBA is concerned there are no specialist nurses at all: there are only nurses and midwives.
3️⃣ 5 May = International Day of the Midwife.
4️⃣ Mental Health Nursing is as different from General Nursing as Midwifery is, yet compared to our more glamorised colleagues, Mental Health Nurses are pretty-much invisible in the public imagination.
5️⃣ If Mental Health Nurses are thought of all in popular culture it’s nearly always through the lens of a fictional character from a 1962 novel, a 1975 movie, and a 2020 TV series, Nurse Mildred Ratched is to mental health nursing as Dr Hannibal Lector is to psychiatrists. Fortunately, life does not always imitate art, but neither of these characters are especially helpful for the image of professions that are often overlooked or maligned.

Florence, 12th May (thanks, but I’m moving on – it’s not you, it’s me)

As a Specialist Mental Health Nurse, I think it’s time to consciously decouple from the forced/faux annual relationship I have with Florence Nightingale every 12 May. The skillset and professional heritage of mental health/psychiatric nurses is not represented by dear old Flo. As Philippa Martyr (1999, p. 1) noted, “Unlike the romantic Nightingales of general nursing history, mental health nurses’ predecessors were gaolers.” I’m not suggesting for a moment that mental health/psychiatric nurses hitch our wagon to the culture of custodians, but I do suggest that we intentionally align ourselves to someone more attuned to our speciality than Florence Nightingale.

Dymphna, 15th May (sorry, but you’re too fictional & Catholic)

Previously, [here + here], and a bit tongue-in-cheek, I’ve floated the idea of mental health/psychiatric nurses celebrating our speciality every year to coincide with the Feast of Saint Dymphna. 
💡 Upside: Dymphna’s story is a ripping yarn that has a mental health theme running through it, and it falls on 15 May (ie: nice and close to International Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife). 
💡 Downside: Dymphna is aligned to one religion in a world of over four thousand religions, plus a good many atheists and agnostics. Dymphna’s fictional story won’t resonate with the majority of the world’s mental health/psychiatric nurses. 

A Better Idea

Instead, how about doing as our general nurse colleagues have done, and borrow the birthday of a pioneering nurse theorist to celebrate each year?

Hildegard, 1st September (there goes my hero)

Why don’t we celebrate 1 September – the birthday of Hildegard Peplau (1909-1999) – as International Mental Health/Psychiatric Nurse Day?
💡 Upside: Hildegard is pretty-much universally acknowledged as the founding theorist for psychiatric/mental health nurses. 
💡 Downsides: 
1️⃣ 1 September will not be able to leverage the momentum created in May each year by our general nurse and midwife colleagues.
2️⃣ Since 2019 UK Mental Health Nurses have celebrated 21 February each year as Mental Health Nurses Day. Would the British mental health nurses be happy to change the date to align with the world, or would they rather the world aligns with their randomly chosen date?
3️⃣ 19 March is ‘Certified Nurses Day’, which described as ‘a worldwide day of recognition that celebrates nursing specialty, subspecialty and advanced practice certification’ [source]. As far as I can tell it’s not acknowledged outside of the USA and Canada, but there is evidence that together with other specialist nurses (eg: Oncology, Critical Care), Specialist Psychiatric Nurses also celebrate that day [example]. Would the North American psychiatric nurses be happy to change the date to align with the world, or would they rather the world aligns with their existing catch-all-nursing-speciality-celebration date?
4️⃣ For all I know, other countries and cultures may already be celebrating their psychiatric/mental health nurses annually (apologies for my ignorance – this isn’t a thorough research project, and nothing else leaped out at me via a quick Google search). If so, would they be happy to change that date to align with the world, or would they rather the world aligns with their existing date?
5️⃣ I’m just a random nurse in a small regional city fart-arsing around on a blog page on a showery Sunday. It’s not for me to say what the world’s mental health/psychiatric nurses should do. For that to happen there would have to be consensus amongst leading agencies such as 
💡 Horatio: European Psychiatric Nurses
💡 Te Ao Māramatanga New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses
💡 Irish Institute of Mental Health Nursing
💡 American Psychiatric Nurses Association
💡 Mental Health Nurse Academics UK
💡 Singapore Nurses Association – Psychiatric Nurses Chapter
💡 International Association for Psychiatric Nurses
💡 Canadian Federation of Mental Health Nurses
💡 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses
and, I guess, it would be sensible to get the International Council of Nurses on board too. 

In my experience, collectively mental health nurses can be a pretty bolshie lot. Is it possible that the leaders of the lead agencies above would
[a] see the need for change?, and 
[b] agree on what that change should look like? 

I don’t know, but I’ll tag as many of the relevant organisations as I can find on social media, and maybe spark a bit of discussion on and around this year’s International Nurses Day. #agentprovocateur

Flo was pretty out-there for her time/culture. Perhaps she would have enjoyed her legacy being hijacked for a debate like this.

Hildegard was all about the relationship: you’d imagine she would appreciate her legacy being discussed in this conversation too. I hope so. I reckon she’s a good fit for the vacant mental health nurse hero gig.


Most cited references are included as in-text links. There was just one formal reference:

Martyr, P.J. [Philippa], (1999), Setting the Standard: a history of the Australian and New Zealand College of Mental Health Nurses, Inc, ANZCMHN, Inc, Greenacres, SA.
PDF of November 2007 reprint via Australian College of Mental Health Nurses, online:

End Notes

Thanks for reading this far. 

What are your thoughts? Do you think the work, culture and skillset of Specialist Mental Health Nurses is so different from their General Nurse colleagues that they deserve a specific annual day of acknowledgment and celebration? 

Reflecting my white, English-speaking background, I am certain to have missed many of the lead psychiatric/mental health nursing organisations around the world – especially those who aren’t readily googleable in English. Apologies in advance for my ignorance. Please help me correct omissions via the comments section below, and I’ll add them to the list above as soon as I get a chance.

Hopefully it’s obvious that I’m an individual aiming to be a provocateur for discussion, am not representing any organisation(s), and am not aiming to become a dictator in control of the world’s mental health/psychiatric nurses. However, if there’s fabulous wealth and power to be had with the latter I would certainly give the job consideration. 🙂

Paul McNamara, 1 May 2022

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