Evening Schedule


6.00pm Evening Chair:  Dr Deborah Watkins

Welcome  addresses:

Jane Wells, Director of Nursing, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust

6.10pm Special contribution award

(nominated by University of Greenwich Students)


6.15pm   Introduction to Skellern Lecture:

Professor Mary Chambers  


6.25pm SKELLERN LECTURE 2018:  

Geoff Brennan -

 The Dark Art of Influencing in-patient MHNs.


7.15pm Plaque presentation:   Catherine Gamble


7.20pm Refreshments & buffet


8.00 Introduction to JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award:  

Professor Ben Hannigan


8.10pm JPHMN LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:  

Professor Phil Burnard


8.50pm Plaque presentation: Professor  Michael Coffey


8.55pm Vote of thanks: Dr Ben Thomas



2018 Skellern Lecture & JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award, held at University of Greenwich, Maritime Campus, June 14th.

JPMHN report on the 2018 Skellern Lecture and JPHMN Lifetime Achievement Award – held at the University of Greenwich Maritime Campus, June 14th 2018.


Eileen Skellern’s contribution to the development of the modern profession of psychiatric and mental health nursing in the UK was considerable both in terms of practice and policy development.  Skellern organised the first major international mental health nursing conference in the UK in 1980, but sadly she died two months before the conference.  In 1982 the Skellern Lecture was established to remember Eileen. Since then, there has been a long list of leading nurses who have delivered the Skellern Lecture.  Each year nominations for the Skellern lecturer are received and a panel made up of previous Skellern lecturers, and representatives from event sponsors preside over the appointment of the new Skellern lecturer.  In 2006 the Skellern Lecture was augmented by the addition of a new Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Wiley-Blackwell’s Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing. The appointments panel also vote on a short list of Lifetime Award candidates.  In recent years the panel has grown with the repute of its membership and so the Skellern Lecturer and JPMHN Lifetime Achievement recipient are positions which have the accolade of being identified as leaders in the field chosen by their peers. 

The 2018 Skellern Lecturer and JPHMN Lifetime Achievement was held this year at the University of Greenwich, and co-hosted with Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, and the Director of Nursing Jane Wells welcomed the audience.  This year’s Skellern Laureate was Geoff Brennan and his lecture had the enigmatic title: ‘The Dark Art of Motivating Inpatient Mental Health Nurses’.  Though there was little that might be described as dark, in his lecture Brennan was able to tell us how he goes about facilitating staff to find their strengths, and how he helps staff to shape up their own successful therapeutic ward community environments.  Inspired by Marion Janner, a former service-user (and JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Recipient) and Professor Len Bowers, Brennan reflected on why projects such as Safewards and Starwards have been so well received on the ground.  Not only does the model work, there is also Brennan’s personal hint of unseen magic, his capacity for humour, and an unstinting compassion and belief in human potential. 

The 2018 JPMHN Lifetime Achievement appointee was Professor Phil Burnard of Cardiff University.  Many nurses and other health care professionals owe Phil Burnard a debt of gratitude for all that he has done, via his books and articles, where he has illuminated interactional and interpersonal skills, how to do face-to-face communication better, how to do research and how to write for publication in ways which are immediately understandable and accessible.  Burnard has been a prolific author, and Liam Clarke once quipped that; ‘Burnard is a man who has never had an unpublished thought’.  If you go to the Amazon UK you will find seven pages of books listed that Phil has written, co-written or edited. If you go to the Scopus database you’ll find details of 181 articles Phil has written, with one of them – A method of analysing interview transcripts in qualitative research, published in Nurse Education Today in 1991 – attracting well over 1,000 citations, 28 of which are in papers published in 2018.  Phil has been a longstanding Fellow of the Florence Nightingale Foundation, and in 2012 became a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing.  Phil Burnard's address was a gentle humorous virtuoso tour of his life, work and struggles, with some profound reflections on the field psychiatric and mental health nursing.  Phil received hearty and lengthy applause and a standing ovation.  

The evening also featured a special presentation from the University of Greenwich mental health nursing students to Dr Deborah Watkins for her inspirational teaching.  The evening was closed with a vote of thanks to the sponsors by Dr Ben Thomas, Professional Nurse Advisor for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities at the Department for Health, and Ben announced that the 2019 Skellern Lecture and JPMHN Lifetime Achievement will be hosted by South West London and St Georges Mental Health Trust and Kingston University, St Georges University, London on June 13th 2019.  Nominations are now open for 2019 Skellern Lecture and the JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award.  For information about how to nominate visit www.skellern.info.  


Gary Winship – Associate Professor, University of Nottingham, School of Education

Ben Hannigan - Professor MHN, Cardiff University

Sally Hardy - Professor, Head of MH and Learning Disabilities, London South Bank University

Joy Bray – MHN specialist, Cambridge, UK.

Mary Chambers – Professor of MHN, Kingston and St Georges University, London.


Professor Michael Coffey presenting Phil with his plaque

Photos courtesy of Russell Ashmore