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Penny Lecture: Mental health nursing, yesterday, today and tomorrow

Join us for an exciting Penny Lecture in collaboration with the RCN and Stephen Jones. A moment to celebrate and recognise International Nurse’s Day.

Stephen’s talk will take us on a journey, exploring mental health in nursing across 100s of years. Discover the historical dynamics of social power (the early maternal nature of nursing; men in ‘general’ and mental health nursing). See how this feeds into the present and the ever evolving training and education (from attendant to mental health nurse; vocation to university-educated profession; compassion in practice). Finally Stephen will take us into the future; what the shift in power and control could mean for mental health in nursing, how we respond to life in Covid times and beyond; and the direction as we move forwards.

The RCN:

With a membership of around 450,000 registered nurses, midwives, health visitors, nursing students, health care assistants and nurse cadets, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK and the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. RCN members work in a variety of hospital and community settings in the NHS and the independent sector. The RCN promotes patient and nursing interests on a wide range of issues by working closely with the Government, the UK parliaments and other national and European political institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations.


Stephen joined the RCN as professional lead for mental health in January 2021. Prior to this appointment, Stephen worked in the South London Mental Health and Community Partnership (SLP), driving the advancement of senior nursing careers across Oxleas, SLaM and SWLSTG. He has a proven track record of leading change and promoting innovation, improving service-user outcomes, while developing and enriching the professional role of the mental health nurse. Stephen holds a keen interest in mental health workforce development, in particular the areas of career pathways, leadership, teamwork and multi-disciplinary person-centred collaborative working. In his role at the RCN, Stephen’s priorities include: driving the UK-wide parity-of-esteem agenda, supporting the mental wellbeing of the nursing workforce, as well as supporting, developing and promoting the work of the RCN Mental Health Forum.