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2016, June 9th, The Dome, Edinburgh 

SKELLERN LECTURE, Professor Cheryl Forchuk (University of Western Ontario, Canada) - Therapeutic relations: historical relic or foundational into our future?

Introduced by Ian Norman

Lecture Synopsis: 

Therapeutic relations have long been considered the foundation of psychiatric mental health nursing.

The classic works of Hildegard Peplau and other nursing leaders moved us to working with people in partnership rather than for them. However, psychiatric mental health nursing is changing and responding to multiple pressures.  Some of the changes to practice that will continue into the future include: an increasing emphasis on interprofessional work, increase in the use of rapidly evolving technology, an increasing tendency to view mental illness from a biological perspective, and a focus on cost containment as a major goal. How will these trends influence the sustainability and desirability to maintain the therapeutic relationship as the essence of our practice? Each of these issues will be briefly discussed.  Psychiatric mental health nursing in context of interprofessional practice: Some issues to be considered include: Are nurses the only ones with therapeutic relationships? Is it reasonable to expect the person to maintain multiple working relationships with multiple people? Who is in charge? Technology: Evolving technologies can either support the therapeutic relationship or promote isolation and rumination. Examples such as the differences in approaches to mood monitoring through technology will illustrate this idea.  Biological Perspective: With progress in neuroimaging we may actually find biological support for the importance of therapeutic relations. The example of some of the work of Northoff will be given that demonstrates increased focus on self without connecting with others increases problems such as depression.  Cost Containment: The example of the transitional discharge model, which focuses on therapeutic relations (peer and professional) will be given which demonstrates attention to relationships decreases length of hospital stay and reduces readmissions.  In conclusion, we need to continue to use the therapeutic relationship as a foundation to our practice. However, we also need it as a lens to evaluate the future trends.


Introduced by Marion Janner (see video recording of Marion's introduction)

Following an extensive clinical and teaching career in nursing in the North West, Tony was appointed to be the inaugural Queens Nursing Institute Professor of Community Nursing at the University of Manchester in 1987. As well as developing a programme of post graduate research and teaching, he undertook original and ground breaking research into clinical supervision for nurses and in the development of psychosocial education for people with schizophrenia.  In 1994 he was invited by the UK Secretary of State for Health to Chair and lead a Government sponsored national review of mental health nursing. This led to a Department of Health report ‘Partnerships in Care’. 

In 1997 he became General Secretary for the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centres for Nursing a global research and teaching collaboration involving 20 countries worldwide.  He was elected by academic peers to be the founding Chair of the Council of Deans of Health in 1998, a collaborative of Universities in the UK offering education to health professionals and following periods as a Head of Department and Dean of School, he became a Pro-Vice Chancellor for external affairs for the University of Manchester in 1998.  He returned to the NHS in the East Midlands as Chief Executive for the Trent Workforce Confederation in 2001 and also became Director of a Research Centre for Clinical and Academic Workforce Innovation at the University of Lincoln in 2005 from where he retired from full-time employment 2009.   He and his team led the UKCRC review of clinical academic careers for nursing and the health professions which led to the publication of a jointly sponsored report ’Developing the best research professionals’ UKCRC 2007.   A Non-Executive Director of the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement from its creation, he was invited by the Secretary of State for Health to be Chairman until its closure in 2013.  He remains an active academic researcher and had supervised 23 PhD students to successful completion, authored or co-authored several text books and write extensively in peer reviewed and professional journals.  He is presently Chairman of a registered Charity, the Foundation for Nursing Studies, Chairman of the Social Care Improvement Group Advisory Board and a Trustee of the RCN Foundation, a Charity that supports nurses in personal need and drives innovative research.  He holds an Emeritus Professorial title of the University of Lincoln and is a visiting Professor to the Waterford Institute in Ireland and the University of Maribor in Slovenia. He has worked extensively in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Europe.  In June 2015 he was named in the HSJ top Clinical leaders list, the citation suggested that “he is one of those people who other people of influence go to for advice”.  Honours: Commander of the British Empire (CBE), Founding Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (FMedScI), Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing (FRCN), Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych), Fellow of the Queens Nursing Institute (FQNI), Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Employment Studies, Fellowship, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society (USA).


Mr Hugh Masters  Associate Chief Nursing Officer Scottish Government

Marion Janer's recorded introduction to Tony Butterworth 


Evening Schedule


5.30pm: Guests arrival  


6.00pm: Evening Chair: Professor Lawrie Elliot – Glasgow Caledonian University


6.05pm:  Welcome  address: Mr Hugh Masters  Associate Chief Nursing Officer Scottish Government


6.15pm: Introduction to Skellern Lecture

Professor Ian Norman



Professor Cheryl Forchuk


7.15pm: Plaque presentation: John Templeton (Student

Nurse Glasgow Caledonian University)


7.20pm: Refreshments & buffet


8.00pm: Introduction to the JPMHN Lifetime Achievement Award: Professor Lawrie Elliott



Professor Tony Butterworth


8.50pm: Plaque presentation: Stuart Martin (Student Nurse – Edinburgh Napier University)


9.00pm: Closing vote of thanks:  Margaret MM Conlon, Lecturer Edinburgh Napier University


Pictured top from left to right, Plaque presented to Cheryl Forchuk by John Templeton, Student Nurse.  Plaque presented to Tony Butterworth by Stuart Martin, student nurse. Margaret Conlon delivered the closing address and vote of thanks. Afterwards guests enjoyed music from a talented guitar and pipe duo.



Skellern: Cheryl Forchuk, Mick Mckeown, Mike Nolan, Dave Richards.  JPMHN Lifetime Award: Simon Bradstreet, Phil Burnard, Tony Butterworth, Felicity Stockwell. 

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