Since the festival we have been busy collecting materials from the event to place on the website. Within the next couple of weeks we will upload most of the concurrent and key note speakers’ presentations on the Online Resources page, plus photographs and various links to new partners and/or initiatives that were organised during the event.
Certain decisions were made concerning other aspects of the work of Horatio and these, too, can be found at the appropriate pages on the website (future events, Expert Panel)
For those of you that were unable to join us in Malta it was truly a wonderful five days. The weather was perhaps a little unpredictable, though our northern European and Canadian colleagues had no problems with the 22 degree C. Everything else seems to have been a success. The key note speakers all delivered, the wide range of concurrent sessions, the cinema, the discussion groups and the interviews all seemed to have been stimulating and generated a great deal of discussion. The arts and cultural programme really set the scene and I am still receiving emails about the opening ceremony and in particular the Ava Maria. The presence of so many ‘big hitters’ from our discipline was a great boost for the local Malta Association of Psychiatric Nurses, but also for all those wishing to speak with authors, philosophers, clinicians and people who simply represent the history and traditions of our great international community.
And then, of course, there was the social events and personally I would like to thank some of colleagues from the Netherlands for both entertaining us at the music night with their 60’s renditions and for their version of the festival anthem! The band who played at out club night (who were excellent I think all agreed – two hours of non-stop high quality music) have told me that we were a fantastic audience and would play for you any time. The gala dinner at the Corinthia Palace was rather special, as were the 200 or so people who attended.
The networking and communications that took place during those five-days will, I am sure produce a large number of new developments and initiatives, but also cement relations between countries and nurses who had never had contact before. The theme of the event was, of course, dialogue. But, dialogue has to have a focus, a meaning and a purpose. In the case of the delegates attending the event it was all about sharing ideas and problem solving activities associated with the world of mental health care and specifically psychiatric and mental health nursing. Truly, it is the fact that we are so diverse that gives us strength as a discipline because there is never only one way of dealing with a challenge. Being able to share those ideas, being able to see what people do in so many different countries and then comparing that to national and personal strategies was one of the highlights of the festival. Two months ago we got word that Susan McCabe had died in a car crash in America. She was an important American
psychiatric nursing leader and she and I had had many a discussion about the balance between standardization and diversity. I wish she had been with us at the festival because I know she would have been inspired by what she experienced. She will be missed.
For those of you that were there in Malta on behalf of the Horatio Board and the various festival committees, I thank you for making the journey and for contributing to the event so wholeheartedly. It was, in the end, your commitment and enthusiasm that made it the success it turned out to be. Some of you came so many miles, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, America, China being the furthest, but all except the Maltese delegature had to make long journeys. I hope you felt it was all worthwhile and that you have taken back home, happy memories, new and renewed friendships and some great ideas about psychiatric nursing, education, management and practice.
And, lastly, if after seeing the photographs that we put up on the website anyone has any photographs that you would like us to post as well that we are missing, please send them to us at the Horatio email address, with your name and address so that we can attribute them to you.
Chair, Horatio European Expert Panel of Psychiatric Nursing