FoNS Blog

Sharing Life Stories

25 October 2016

Louise Moore, Linda Richmond and Hannah Divall, Garden House Hospice, Letchworth, Hertfordshire

(l-r) Linda Richmond and Louise Moore

We’ve been pioneering ‘Life Stories’, at Garden House Hospice. This is an opportunity for patients to share life’s experiences and life stories in a group setting with one another. Their stories are written down, recorded and then gifted back to them so at the end of a series of workshops, they’ve got a folio of stories from their lives that they can keep or give to their families. We have now run our first series of workshops and got some great feedback. These are some of the things that were said by patients:


‘I’ve forgotten about my illness while I’ve been here’

‘It’s important to be reminded that you’re not just your illness, there is so much of us that was there before’

‘It’s nice to bring happier memories and it’s de-stressing to have the ability to concentrate on something else’

‘Most people we encounter look at you as a patient and most are very good but they don’t see me as someone who’s done what I’ve done, it puts you on a level playing field with other people' 

Celebrating Progress Towards Becoming Teaching Care Homes

18 October 2016

Kate Sanders, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator


Yesterday I was fortunate to be working with five teams of nurses and carers from care homes across England as part of the Teaching Care Homes (TCH) Programme (see: http://www.fons.org/programmes/care-sector.aspx?page=teaching). This was the fifth day when we have all come together. We had time to think more about what this ‘destination’ of a TCH might look like, and for each of the homes to consider where they might be on the (never ending) path towards reaching this.


We co-created the destination in our first two days together (back in June), accepting that it wasn’t perfect, but recognising that having a shared vision would be helpful as we began to work together. We also realised that it would help us to start having conversations with others, both within the homes and in the wider care sector. We have plans to extend this conversation in the coming months through a series of tweetchats and a roundtable discussion and we would welcome your contributions.


Throughout the first five days, three key principles have underpinned our work together. These are person-centredness, collaboration and partnership, and learning. They have helped us with creating our vision, thinking about how we can evaluate how well we are doing in relation to the vision, and exploring our roles (and the roles of others) in achieving the vision.

Mental Health Nursing: The Future

11 October 2016

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO


Yesterday was World Mental Health Day, a day first launched in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) to raise awareness of mental health, promote education and advocacy. The need to improve mental health services across health and social care has been clearly recognised. In March 2015, an independent Mental Health Taskforce was established, bringing together health and social care leaders, people who use services and experts in the field under the leadership of Paul Farmer, CEO of MIND. The resulting national strategy ‘The Five Years Forward View for Mental Health’ for the NHS in England was published in 2016, giving for the first time a plan for improving mental health outcomes across health and social care. The commitment to implementing this plan has been strengthened further with the appointment of a National Director for Mental Health, Claire Murdoch who will work with the taskforce to implement the vision for the future.


Revalidation ‘Sharing, reflecting and improving’

04 October 2016

The FoNS Team


FoNS has recently launched a video animation, a ‘practical guide to revalidation for nurses working in social care’ which was funded by the RCN Foundation. While it may be a bit of a generalisation, we know from some workshops we ran at the beginning of the year that nurses in social care settings often work in isolation, and so are likely to have less support in terms of revalidation. Nurses may be tempted to think of revalidation as a box to be ticked, as something to be done. But we would like to urge nurses in any setting to think of revalidation as an opportunity rather than a task, as a chance to develop as professionals and to demonstrate that professional growth to others. 

Welcome to the Social Age?

27 September 2016

Kate Sanders, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator



I was recently fortunate to hear Julian Stodd (‘an explorer of the Social Age: helping organisations form strategy and shape projects that deliver transformative change’) talk about Social Learning (at the Enhancing Practice 16 conference at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh) and to receive his latest book, The Social Leadership Handbook (2nd Edition). Both listening to him speak and reading his book has raised many questions for me – too many to share in one sitting – so here are some initial thoughts and ideas.


Julian argues that we have moved from the Manufacturing Age (when our focus was on the production of things), through to the Knowledge Age (when we stopped making things, outsourcing production, but creating the knowledge of ‘how to’), then into the Digital Age (where technology made knowledge easily accessible), and now into the Social Age – an age where effectiveness is achieved by making sense of knowledge, through active engagement with communities, facilitated by technology.


The first question I found myself asking was: What age am I living in? Followed by: Do I move between the ages? Am I stuck? How do I keep up? How can I take others with me?