FoNS Blog

Shining a light on what's great in care homes

21 February 2017

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO

Many of your will know about the Teaching Care Homes (TCH) Pilot Programme that FoNS has been supporting in Partnership with Care England. Our year is nearly up and a few weeks ago we had our final day with the teams we have been working with from five home across England.


I remember blogging about the teams at the start of the programme. I talked about their inspiring and at times emotional narratives and stories about the ways they and their colleagues were trying to provide a sense of ‘home’ for residents and person-centred care for them and their families. One of the many things the pilot programme set out to do was to shine a light on what is really great about many of our care homes up and down the country and the tremendous commitment of staff who work in care homes. It has been great to see how, through the pilot programme, individuals have become more confident in talking about their experiences, most especially through the blogs they have shared about day-to-day experiences that, in my view, make them exceptional.


All of the blogs have been posted on the Nursing Times Care Sector Microsite which is supported by Care England and open to all to access. It is certainly worth a visit and to get you enthused, I thought you might like to read what some of the participants have to say about the work they do every day:

Meaningful Collaboration

13 February 2017


I was recently reading a document by Becky Seale (2016) “Patients as Partners” which outlined the learning from the King’s Fund “Leading Collaboratively with Patients and Communities” (collaborative pairs programme). Health and care professionals, patients, carers, service users and community based leaders were invited to come together in pairs, to explore how to develop collaborative relationships and lead system change.


This started me thinking about collaboration, what it is and the extent to which it is really experienced in health and social care practice. In my experience, when I talk with teams, the usual practice appears to be mostly consultation with patients and service users rather than meaningful collaboration. Within a practice development world view (McCormack et al., 2013) one of the key values in working with people is the principle of collaboration, inclusion and participation (CIP). When I am working with nurse led teams on the Patients First Programme, I try to help them identify how they are currently working and how they would like to improve their collaboration with people. Using the model of participation (as below), I ask teams to think of how they are enabling patients and service users to participate in their project (area of change or innovation) and ask them to rate this according to the model. This usually results in a great deal of discussion and debate. It also creates the chance for the teams to challenge each other about how much participation is really experienced with a view to highlighting a way in which the level of participation can be increased and power shared.

The Power of Positive Stories

07 February 2017

Kate Sanders, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator


A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with a group of nurses, carers and activity co-ordinators from Rose Court Care Home in Radcliffe, Manchester. The team are exploring how they can build reflective activities into everyday practice to enable learning and development. During the afternoon, the group members spent a short time reflecting on something that had gone well for them, or something that they were pleased or satisfied with. This could be something they had been involved in, or perhaps something they had seen or heard. They used the following questions to help them to reflect:

  • What has gone well or are you pleased /satisfied with?
  • Why did it go well or are you pleased /satisfied?
  • What would make it possible for this to happen more often?
  • What actions could you take now?

Connecting at a human level

31 January 2017

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO


In my first blog of 2017, I shared the exciting news that this year is FoNS’ 30th anniversary; a great achievement for an organisation whose starting point (with little financial resource) was an ambition to advance both nursing practice and the nursing profession. As mentioned previously we have commissioned the production of biographical account of FoNS’ evolution and having seen a draft of the first 10 years, it is remarkable to see how the early ambitions gained momentum. Each month, I want to share some of my reflections about what makes FoNS special so as to help spread our experience and expertise for the use and benefit of all.


I joined FoNS in 1998, as the new Professional Development Officer. I was drawn to the position for several reasons, not least one statement in the job description that described FoNS as working at ‘both clinical and policy levels, seeking always to reflect the real needs of the nursing profession within a changing environment’. This opportunity to remain connected with nurses clinically whilst influencing policy was really attractive. Another commitment of the organisation that stuck a cord with me was the desire to really make a difference to people, both the nurses FoNS supported and patients and families; it was clear there was a genuine desire to make difference.

Together we achieve more!

24 January 2017

Maria Loughran, Practice Development Facilitator

I began my FoNS Patient First Programme journey in 2015 alongside two nursing colleagues; our project was aimed at enhancing the experience for patients living with a dementia who are admitted to an acute care ward. We wanted to involve the nursing and multi-professional team, staying true to the practice development principles of collaboration, inclusivity and participation. We gathered the thoughts and ideas from the wider team using what else but flip chart and post-its! We collated evidence and scoped best practice ideas. The application was submitted and we were successful.


We are aware that admission to hospital is a stressful time for anyone and can be even more so for a person with dementia. Acute care environments are often not conducive to meeting the needs of patients with dementia (NHS Confederation, 2010). The Department for Health and Social Services and Public Safety Northern Ireland (DHSSPSNI, 2011) regional strategy entitled ‘Improving Dementia Services in Northern Ireland’ was developed to raise awareness of dementia and to improve and redesign services in this area.