Editorial

Lessons from a psychiatry guru

When I interviewed Len Bowers, who has retired from his post as professor of psychiatric nursing at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, I was struck by what an interesting and varied career he has had.

When I interviewed Len Bowers, who has retired from his post as professor of psychiatric nursing at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, I was struck by what an interesting and varied career he has had.

Like many mental health nurses, he did not enter nursing straight from school. As a young man he set out to train for a religious vocation but, after a few hiccups and a good deal of soul-searching, swapped it for nursing.

That experience, and the time spent working out what he wanted to do, had a profound effect on what he contributed to nursing subsequently.

He is one of the most influential mental health nurses of his generation, and his legacy is the impact that his Safewards approach is having on acute hospital-based care.

Len Bowers is one of the most influential mental health nurses of his generation, but he is modest about his achievements

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is unusual about Safewards is just how successful it has become around the world – it is rare for UK-derived approaches to travel so well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In some countries governments have adopted it as official health policy, and in others it is used by front line staff throughout their local health systems, simply because it is full of good ideas, and it works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Bowers is modest about his achievements and shocked at how widely Safewards has been adopted. He told me he is embarrassed when people come up to him and treat him as some sort of guru.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the Oxford English Dictionary defines guru as a ‘spiritual teacher’, and that’s a pretty good description of what Professor Bowers has become.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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