Horatio: The Turku Declaration

After a years work, involving consultations and feedback from members of the European Expert Panel of Psychiatric Nursing, individuals and organisations around Europe and worldwide, Horatio published the Turku Declaration in December 2011. Its launch marks a major stepping stone for the European organisation’s goal of achieving parity for all psychiatric and mental health nurses working with those challenged by mental health problems in Europe.

The document identifies those activities that psychiatric and mental health nurses do which other disciplines do not. In other words it is the unique contribution made by these nurses to the care of those with mental health problems. Many of the 66 items listed may, at times, be undertaken by professionals other than nurses but they are not done so consistently, nor can it be said that they carry them out in the same way as nurses. In some countries, due to such things as legislation, educational preparation, resources, culture and tradition, many of the items may not even be carried out by anyone at all, let alone nurses, thus radically reducing the quality of care offered. So, the Declaration is a statement about what Horatio feels nurses should be doing, how they should be educated, and how they should be managed and supported. The document is divided into four sections. Section A, the Introduction, identifies the background to the declaration and provides a rational for its development Section B considers the educational preparation Horatio considers vital if nurses are to deliver appropriate and effective mental health care whilst also being active members of multi-disciplinary mental health teams. Sections C deals with clinical practice, and is divided into two parts: Part 1 – working with patients, covers specific clinical activities that nurses should assume responsibility for and roles they need to adopt to be able to do so; whilst Part 2 – working on behalf of patients, addresses the issues that underpin clinical practice and form the basis of professional care. Finally, Section D identifies research and practice development activities that should be targetted by nurses if they are to progress their professional profile and positively influence the mental health care agenda.

The document will be translated into all the European languages.





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