FoNS Blog

The Inspire Improvement Fellowship 2019

17 July 2018

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator


We are delighted to announce that we are now looking for enthusiastic clinical front- line leaders to join a community of Inspire Improvement Fellows. This opportunity started in 2018 with eleven clinical leaders from a broad variety of clinical services and geographical locations across the UK. Visit the 'Current Fellows' pages to read more about the current Fellows' profiles and what they aspired to at the start of the Fellowship.


One of the great things about the Fellowship programme is that participants are coming as individual leaders to the residential workshops. We started the night before with a meal, so we can get to know each other and everyone quickly formed a cohesive group, despite pre-programme nerves and worries about not being creative enough, not 'getting it right' and adjusting to the 'active learning' approach. At the end of day two, everyone started to value the immense knowledge and experience in the room, appreciated the opportunity to learn from each other and left having set up a WhatsApp group to continue the conversations back in practice.

Nursing in Mind

10 July 2018

Claire Shaw, Lead Nurse for Nursing Development & Research and Peter Griffiths, Consultant Nurse



Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust


We wanted to share a new programme we’re working on called Nursing in Mind. It starts with the idea that at times, nursing can be reduced to tasks and targets with an emphasis on knowledge of facts and policy. Sometimes this is at the expense of valuing the quality of relationships, care and our capacity to think, and our ability to process our daily work and interactions. We know from experience that nurses often feel frustrated and overwhelmed by their daily encounters with patients, families, colleagues and managers.


‘Nursing in Mind’ is a new monthly programme that has been developed as an opportunity for nurses to meet one another, to learn and to share experience. It aims to look beneath the surface and beyond the practical, exploring the issues and events that shape our experience. We have all felt pushed or pulled into acting ‘out of character’, experienced intense feelings towards our patients and colleagues, both positive and negative and felt pressured to act in ways we later regret or worry about. Nursing in Mind aims to provide a framework for understanding these experiences, an opportunity to learn from experience and a space to share with others.

Celebrating 70 Years of the NHS #NHS70

04 July 2018

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO


FoNS was delighted to support two (London and South regions) of the four regional events hosted by NHS England.


I attended the London Region event #NursingMidwiferyLondon with around 250 enthusiastic participants representing a wide range of nursing roles; there was a really positive, celebratory feel in the room and it was great that FoNS was part of it.


Professor Oliver Shanley, OBE, Regional Chief Nurse for London got the day off to great start by sharing his sense of pride at being a nurse and indeed coming from a family of nurses all dedicated to the NHS. NHS England’s Chief Nursing Officer, Professor Jane Cummings, revealed the list of 70 of the most influential nurses and midwives from 1948 to 2018, a list described as not simply recognising the ‘great and good’ but rather celebrating those who have influenced the evolution of nursing and healthcare. We were of course thrilled to see our very own Chairman, Professor Tony Butterworth, CBE in that list and hear what a really important contribution he had made from Jane Cummings. It was also great to see Sue Pembrey in the list, whose legacy we help maintain through the annual Sue Pembrey Award for Clinical Nurse Leaders, along with colleagues from our IPDC partners, Professor Kim Manley, CBE and Professor Tanya McCance and finally, our Patron Baroness Mary Watkins.


Throughout the rest of the day, we heard from a range of nurses talking passionately about how they have made a significant difference to the care people using services receive. From the important role of learning disability nurses to the role of midwives in supporting women who have recently arrived in the country as refuges and asylum seekers, often traumatised and vulnerable. These examples of providing care to those who are vulnerable and sometimes marginalised by society is arguably the current representation of the reason the NHS was established in the first place: as a service which would end the terrible inequalities that existed in terms of access to<

Creating personal connections to learn, develop and improve

26 June 2018

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator



Last week I had the pleasure of meeting up again with the Inspire Improvement Fellows (Inspire Improvement Programme) for the second set of two learning workshop days (the last ones were held in March 2018). Although I had been visiting each of the fellows individually in their workplaces, this was an opportunity for them to be together collectively, to have a ‘thinking and creative’ space away from their busy schedules as clinical leaders, for them to learn from each other and to plan the next steps of their Inspire Improvement journey towards creating more caring cultures.


In between the first and second set of workshops, the fellows had been using a variety of social and email media to stay in touch. And it became very evident to me when everyone came together again, that there was a great connection and cohesiveness between each member of the group. Even on the first session of the day, where people were sharing their ‘Golden Moments’ (individual successes/highlights), everyone connected very quickly with a high level of energy, despite having been apart for three months and having travelled from various locations around the UK. A colleague from FoNS also joined us for part of the workshop and commented on how connected the group appeared to be; in the way they were working and interacting together. At the end of the workshops the fellows commented on how much they valued hearing others’ experiences and how inspired they were by what others had achieved. I feel this was summed up by the following three comments:

‘I feel like I’ve arrived home to my FoNS family!’

‘I feel I have reconnected with my FoNS journey’

‘No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main’


Surviving Hospital #TreatMeWell

19 June 2018

Sally Wilson, Matron for vulnerable patients and safeguarding adults lead, George Eliot Hospital


The notion of ‘surviving hospital ’ may sound an emotive turn of phrase, but the hospital environment can be scary at times for all patients; harsh lights, strange sounds and smells. When you have a learning disability and/or additional sensory impairment this fear is amplified and many people with learning disabilities who are able to describe their hospital experiences focus on fear and not understanding what was happening to them.


I was asked to discuss this at a recent conference: Positive Choices and Positive Commitment 2018 (#PCPC18 for Twitter users) and give a whistle stop tour of how learning disability nurses can support people with learning disabilities to maximise admission avoidance and when admitted, to survive in hospital.


The first key word for me is for learning disability nurses (LDNs) to be ‘clinical’ and maximise admission avoidance through the baseline monitoring of health and therefore early identification of any deterioration. Learn and be confident in routine observations, use the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) to assess the people in your care. It is also really worth pursuing a post registration health assessment course so community learning disability nurses (CLDNs) can deliver autoscopic examinations (impacted ear wax is a huge undetected and easily reversible cause of poor health), chest examinations (we know respiratory disease is major cause of premature death for people with learning disabilities) and continence/constipation assessments (constipation is frequently ignored but so easily treated) amongst other simple health assessments which can maximise health and reduce risk of admission to hospital.