Much discussion took place with those first participants at the inaugural meeting in Amsterdam in 2005.
It was decided that a European association representing psychiatric nurses needed to have a specific identity. Being yet another organisation with an acronym was not going to do the job. After much debate the organisation’s first General Secretary, Ber Ommen, suggested the name of Horatio.
This is a character in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, a man who is the king’s counselor, his confidant and someone who stood by his side through both his happy and dark moments. Hamlet, the king, was a troubled man and he choose only Horatio to be his friend and help him with the struggles of his inner life.
Hamlet wanted Horatio in that role In the end Hamlet died, badly, but felt that he had discovered the meaning of his life – ‘To be, or not to be’, with Horatio’s help.
The group felt that this character and his position reflected very much the role of the psychiatric nurse and the position they often had to adopt between the patient and their world.
In daily practice nurses are often confronted with patients similar to Hamlet, finding it difficult to live with different realities.
The name of Horatio: European Psychiatric Nurses was adopted because it gave the organisation an aspirational title, not just a series of letters.