FoNS Blog

Are you the next pioneer for nursing and the people you care for?

16 August 2016

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator


“All hail the pioneers who have made possible Britain’s golden era in previously uncharted territory”


This was the Evening Standard headline that I read yesterday on my commute home. The country is gripped by the Rio Olympics and the great success that Team GB has enjoyed particularly in sports that, as a country, we have never celebrated great success in before.


The journalist went on to highlight the importance of remembering the so called ‘trail blazers’, the likes of Sir Steve Redgrave in rowing and Dame Kelly Holmes in running who have inspired this future generation of sporting heroes


“It’s a special kind of sporting triumph not only to achieve great things, but to make great things possible for those that follow. Salute the pioneers, then: and never forget them as we cheer those that follow.”(London Evening Standard 15th August 2016)


Many nurses also talk about people who have inspired them, other nurses and care professionals, patients and families. At FoNS we are often inspired by the great people we work with, whose enthusiasm and commitment to continually improving care and services are in abundance despite the rising challenges experienced across health and social care.

Maintaining Motivation

09 August 2016

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO

We all need some form of motivation to meet the demands of our daily lives.  Whilst working in health and social care can provide enormous satisfaction, I am increasingly noticing that maintaining motivation is getting harder.  At all levels there is a need to look at ways in which we can support ourselves, colleagues and staff to maintain the high level of commitment needed to deliver safe, effective and person-centred care.  


Whilst there is an abundance of information on the web, numerous books, articles, motivational speakers and so on, I wonder if there are some small ways in which we can enhance our own motivation and enable others (peers, colleagues and staff) to feel more motivated too. Here are a few of my first thoughts…


Showing your own motivation

Try to become more attuned to your own motivation and how this impacts on others. How you arrive at work, your facial expression and body language may set the tone for the day, smile and try to greet others positively; it is not always easy but we can all contribute to the creation of a more uplifting atmosphere


Valuing people


  • Giving another person time; how often do we ask someone how they are yet find ourselves walking away before they have been able to respond? Creating moments for short meaningful exchanges helps others feel valued

The Power of Listening to Patients' Experiences

02 August 2016

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator


Several weeks ago I was invited to support a project team on the Patients First Programme in Wales, by attending an exciting stakeholder event. The project team are focusing on improving the experience of women who have a miscarriage, across the various hospital sites from arriving in the Accident and Emergency department through to being cared for on the ward. (Click here for the project page).


To date the project team have worked with staff on the ward to understand their values and beliefs and also gathered written personal experiences from women via a miscarriage support group. Initially these written experiences were shared amongst the project team and a small group of nursing staff from the ward. Based on the impact of hearing these powerful, personal accounts, the team decided that holding a listening event would be great way to engage with a wider stakeholder audience. To this aim the project leader set about exploring what resources were available to her as she wanted to continue to work creatively. During a meeting with the Patient Experience lead for the hospital, she discovered that there was a local arts based organisation that had experience of narrating stories or personal experiences and so she made contact with them and secured their services. The project leader identified a variety of key stakeholders across the whole patient journey, found a date in the diary to meet and hired a venue in the beautiful Botanical Gardens of Wales.

Celebrating the Role of the Ward Sister* in Contemporary Practice

26 July 2016

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO



This week I have the very great pleasure of working with colleagues to lead a IPDC Practice Development School: Fostering Cultures of Effectiveness for Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust. The Trusts’ Director of Nursing is leading a pioneering programme of change which includes enabling ward sisters to become more clinically focused and lead practice development and learning. To support this transition, a cohort of 30 ward sisters are participating in this week long residential programme, offering participants the opportunity and space to develop their skills and confidence as facilitative leaders of culture change with a focus on development and learning that enables person-centred, safe and effective workplaces and services. 


Redefining the ward sister role in this way would undoubtedly have the support of the late Dr Sue Pembrey, one of the UK's outstanding nursing leaders of the late twentieth century. Her primary contributions included supporting the academic development of clinical nursing and the development of nursing practice through the strengthening of the ward sister's leadership role and pioneering a commitment to patient/person-centred hospital care. She described the ward sister as:


the key nurse in negotiating the care of the patient because she/he is the only person in the nursing structure who actually and symbolically represents continuity of care to the patient. She/he is the only person who has direct managerial responsibilities for both the patients and nurses. It is the combination of continuity in a patient area together with direct authority in relation to patients and nurses that makes the role unique and so important to nursing.” (In Pembrey, 1980, The Ward Sister, Key to Nursing: A Study of the Organisation of Individualised Nursing. London: RCN).

Moral distress – is it time to start talking?

19 July 2016

Kate Sanders, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator

Last week I joined in an interesting TweetChat about moral distress. Thanks to Ryan Schutt (@ryanschutt) from Canada for initiating the chat, and also to @WeNurses for hosting. There were nearly 60 participants on the night, indicating a good level of interest in this subject.


My interest in joining the chat lies in my PhD study. The initial trigger for my research was a growing concern for the well-being of nurses, which has developed further into an exploration of the impact of nurses not being able to practice in accordance with their values and beliefs – or not able to be authentic. My reading has led me down many avenues; one of the more recent ones has taken me to some literature on ethics and moral distress. It seems feasible to me that if nurses are not able to care for patients in the ways in which they think it is important to, or believe that they should, this could impact on their health and well-being – perhaps due to moral distress.


I was initially intrigued as to why Ryan should be talking about moral distress in the UK, but as I learn more about the concept, I can see that it is a concept that is spoken about much more in Canada and the USA than it is in the UK. One of the first questions during the chat was inevitably – what is moral distress? – and questions were raised about the links between moral distress and burnout, for example. I think perhaps in the UK, we talk about burnout more. I now wonder if this at the detriment of not recognising the moral and ethical dilemmas that face nurses and other healthcare staff on a regular basis and that can potentially cause distress?