Half a century of nursing with mental health nurse Kevin Gournay

Influential mental health nurse Kevin Gournay, on how half a century working in the profession has given him hope towards future nursing generations.

You would be hard pressed to think of a more influential UK mental health nurse than Kevin Gournay.

His illustrious career started 51 years ago, when, rather than take up the offer of a place at medical school, he decided to work as a nursing assistant. That led him on to a dual qualification in mental health and mental sub normality nursing, as it was called in those days, at Darenth Park and Stone House hospitals in Dartford, Kent.

Although unplanned at the time, his career set off at a blistering pace, and by the end of 1975 Professor Gournay had gained three nursing qualifications and experience of teaching nursing students. His next job entailed setting up and running a therapeutic community in Sussex, something he had never done before, and then he moved to London to


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