FoNS Blog

Getting to know others

24 May 2016

Caroline Shuldham, FoNS Trustee

Every now and again one is taken short and reminded of how much we do not know about people and how if we do not ask or listen we never will. I was in the Cabinet War Rooms on a sunny afternoon watching a video of people who had worked in Churchill’s underground headquarters during the Second World War explaining their roles nearly 70 years earlier.


Suddenly my attention was drawn by one of the people. She was immediately recognisable and her name appeared and confirmed what I already knew, that I had met her briefly as a colleague in the course of my work in the 1980s. Why did I not know more about her? Was it because I was not interested or did not ask? Perhaps we had just got on with the work in hand? How could I not know about this aspect of her life?

Humans of Healthcare

17 May 2016

Sam Meikle, Founder, Spark the Difference


“And at its very heart – clinical practice, medicine, nursing - is about the encounter between two human beings. And if we lose that, we lose everything”.


These wise words are from Mark, who was a GP for 25 years in West Yorkshire. Mark is featured in the Humans of Healthcare art exhibition, which is running in Elephant and Castle, London from 5th May until 31st May [1]. The exhibition is about people and their stories. The stories of the women and men who use health and social care services and those who work to deliver or improve these services.


In the exhibition, you will see candid black and white photographs of people holding lightbulbs. The lightbulbs represent a brighter light of hope and compassion to balance the negativity that we often see in mainstream media. In the exhibition gallery, you can also listen to recorded snippets of conversation from these inspirational people. Some snippets are funny, some are sad - all are true.

Moving beyond the gallery space, the Humans of Healthcare project also features 10-15 minute interviews with inspiring people across health and social care. Interviews are being released daily on our website to provide food for thought and conversation starters about what got us all into health and social care in the first place and what keeps us going [2].


The most frequently asked question I received when I was sharing plans about the Humans of Healthcare project, was - “Why? Why are you doing this Sam? What inspired all of this?

Caring Cultures and Resilience on International Nurses Day 2016

10 May 2016

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO


This time last year we launched all of our Creating Caring Cultures Resources, the outcome of many years of experience and work. I wrote a blog celebrating this and tracing the steps that had taken us toward Creating Caring Cultures, which now to an even greater extend is an evolving work stream that is touching so many areas of activity. 


With International Nurses Day approaching I have been thinking about the whole notion of Creating Caring Cultures across health and social care. This year the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Nurses Day focus1 is on strong and resilient health systems and the significant role nurses can play in this. My initial reaction was ‘great’ as I wondered how on earth nurses can contribute when for many the pressures of service delivery are so overwhelming. So it was with some relief that I got to the chapter on developing personal resilience. From the outset, the ICN acknowledge not just the contextual challenges but the physical and psychological demand placed on nurses and the impact this has on their ability to care.

The Mighty Foxes

03 May 2016

Debbie Warren


I’m not a football fan, but I do come from Leicester, so am very proud of our victory in the Premiership. I’m not the only one, the whole fairy tale, the success of the underdog story has really caught the imagination of people with no connection to Leicester at all. So what’s the secret? Interestingly it appears that it’s no secret at all, the papers are full of explanations.


When Claudio Ranieri took over last August after the rather messy departure of the previous manager, the first thing he did, it seems, is not much. According to Kasper Schmeichel, the goalkeeper, when he first arrived he ‘resisted the urge to change everything. That is something a lot of managers want to do, they bring their own people and do everything their own way’. ‘He came in the first week, he introduced himself and then didn’t say anything the following week because he just watched us and how we work.’

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

26 April 2016

Adapted by Debbie Warren


Imagine a nurse, let’s call her Alice. Alice has imagination and an innovative idea to improve clinical practice. She is eager to make a difference to her patients, but for her project to succeed, she must first find her way through a strange place called ‘Wonderland’. Wonderland is a place where she encounters new characters and unfamiliar situations, which enable her to learn (sometimes the hard way) about life and growing up. The journey through Wonderland is a time of personal growth for Alice.


At the beginning of this adventure Alice meets a practice development facilitator, who we shall call the White Rabbit. The White Rabbit acts as her guide through Wonderland, appearing and reappearing (with watch in hand) to make sure things keep moving along as planned! The white rabbit is fundamental for Alice’s survival through Wonderland. As her guide, he shares his knowledge and experience to help her navigate her way through unfamiliar territory; he enables her to recognise how the environment can make a difference to her learning experiences; he shares Alice’s vision and empowers her to achieve it. He is open and honest, offering her constructive feedback as she goes on her way. Alice knows she can confide in the white rabbit through challenging times; knowing he is always caring and supportive. He has realistic expectations of Alice.