Patrick Benson qualified as a Psychiatric Nurse in 1969 in Dublin, undertook postgraduate training in General Nursing in London and qualified as a Clinical Tutor. He is also a trained ISO Quality Auditor. He served as Assistant Director of Nursing in Mayo and Sligo and was appointed Director of Nursing for Sligo/ Leitrim/ South Donegal Mental Health Service in 1985. He undertook Management Development Training with the Institute of Public Administration in Dublin on all aspects of Change Management, Industrial Relations, Negotiation and Investigation Procedures.
As Director of Nursing, he has been responsible for the transformation of the mental health services in the region and introduced a nurse-led model of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Addiction Counselling, Systemic Family Therapy, and Community Mental Health Nursing with direct access by General Practitioners. He has seen major change of services from a hospital-based model to a full team orientated community model of provision.
During his time as National President of Mental Health Nurse Manager, he provided leadership and was an agent of change in the provision of integrated community based services. He was also involved in the development of education programmes in third level and ensuring standards were achieved to allow full accreditation of such programmes. He also encouraged nurses and other disciplines to undertake postgraduate opportunities and was the first service in Ireland to have a psychiatric nurse registered as a nurse prescriber.
During his career, he has been a strong advocate for patients’ rights and as a complaints officer for the service his objective was ensuring difficulties experienced were addressed and positive outcomes achieved for all concerned.