FoNS Blog

Promoting staff wellbeing …

18 September 2018

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO


On Monday, the Burdett Trust for Nursing held an interesting symposium Strengthening Nurse Leadership & Retention – sadly I couldn’t attend but did follow some of the proceeding on Twitter. The focus was leadership and retention and an important area that I noticed receiving a lot of attention the ability and desire staff may or may not have to continue working – ‘being fit to work’. not just physically but having the emotional capacity to work – feeling resilient.


I was pleased to see that Gemma Stacey presented the work she led with colleagues to implement a model of Resilience Based Clinical Supervision (RBCS). This is a form of clinical supervision which focuses on the ‘emotional systems motivating the response to a situation’ and includes elements of mindfulness-based exercises with a view to ‘enhancing well-being, resilience and improving patient care’. FoNS is very pleased to host the range of resources for those interested in using the approach and I certainly recommend you take a look (see the link above).


However, sharing the details about RBCS is not the real focus of my blog rather I wanted to come back to the issues relating to wellbeing, self-care and resilience. One of Gemma’s’ slides posted on Twitter (right) gave insight to some interesting findings. While there are many positive benefits for those who experience RBCS, it also revealed what could be described as negative consequences: Where staff exercised self-care, they were labelled selfish and some practices were seen as ‘unsustainable’. Reading this prompted me to think about the extent to which staff wellbeing and the adoption of ways of working that encourage staff to take care of themselves and feel a sense of resilience is really being attended to across our health and social care services?&l

Working in New Ways

11 September 2018

Ryan Rukas, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust


I am a current fellow on the inspire improvement programme. I am the clinical nurse specialist for the Community Complex Care Team at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. We are a large complex care team who mainly care for children with complex health care needs within their own homes. As a team we provide the day to day care of the child with the clinical oversight of a band 6 children’s nurse. I have been on my Inspire Improvement journey for approaching 6 months now and I cannot believe the change in myself as a nurse. If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be using ‘Evoke Cards’ (www.evoke.com) with a family to enable them to get their full feelings and thoughts about my team across to me, I would never have believed them. I wouldn’t have even known what ‘Evoke Cards’ were!


These cards were first introduced to me by Jo Odell from FoNS. I remember being asked to choose 2 cards to explain how I felt at that moment. The pictures just caught my eye and ‘evoked’ a response from me that I didn’t actually know I was capable of. Looking back, it was because they were so easy to use and there is always a picture I could relate to. I bought a set for the team and they are now used every week for supervision and study days and sometimes during a general office discussion I get them out. They never fail to evoke a response in one way or another.


I then decided to use the cards when undertaking a young person and family review. These reviews are usually a pretty standard affair where I ask the child and family how things are with the team and more often than not I get the same answers from them as I did six months before. Not this time. I had pre-warned the family that this review was going to be different and they were intrigued to know what it was that would be happening. I spread the cards out on the young person’s bed and the family decided they would like to use the picture side rather than the words. (I have found that most people prefer the pictures to the words, one carer has previously said that the picture evokes ‘a feeling within them and makes them want to talk about it’.)


What can we learn from honey bees?

04 September 2018

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator



Two weeks ago, I attended the Enhancing Practice Conference 2018 in Basel, Switzerland along with colleagues from FoNS, to share some of the work we are involved with. While I was there I was fascinated by a keynote speech given by Professor Thomas D Seeley from Cornell University. For over 40 years Professor Seeley has been studying the behaviour of honey bees and from his research he believes there are lessons for us all in terms of decision making and effective working. He has described all of this work in his most recent book; ‘Honeybee Democracy’ (Thomas D. Seeley, Princeton University Press, 2010).


During the presentation Professor Seeley described how, through his research, he had discovered the importance of the scout bee, whose sole role is to find a new home for the bee swarm to live in. This is a life and death decision as the swarm will not survive if the new home they choose does not provide the right shelter. Each scout bee is genetically programmed to search for the right new home and then communicate this back to the other scout bees by undertaking a ‘waggle dance’ that indicates the distance, direction and quality of the new home. Over a period of 3-4 days the scout bees visit various locations and return and do the ‘swagger dance’ to show the other scout bees their preferred option. On the basis of this, the other scout bees then go and visit the most likely sites and eventually, a decision is made, the swarm moves to the new location and Professor Seeley discovered that 4 times out of 5, the bees chose the best location available. He also discovered that the queen bee plays no role in the decision-making process. The key feature in the decision-making process appeared to be the strength of the dancing, the better the potential new home, the more vigorous the dancing and this enables the bees to reach a decision. Importantly each scout bee visits the site proposed by the most vigorous dancer to then make a decision for themselves. From this Professor Seeley has developed 5 effective habits that he has used effectively when working with people and decision making.

To blog or not to blog …

21 August 2018

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator


“……that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles by opposing them……………….” (Shakespeare, Hamlet)


In March 2014, here at FoNS we started blogging our thoughts ideas, comments and ways of working. Over time we have also invited guest blogs as we sought to keep to our weekly schedule, but also as a way of gathering more diverse authors. As part of the Inspire Improvement Fellowship, which started in January 2018 I have been encouraging the fellows to write quarterly blogs as a way of reflecting on their own learning and sharing their activities as they work with their team to develop cultures of care, with a wider audience ( see a few examples pictured). I am hoping that the fellows will be able to look back at these blogs and use these to evaluate their own development and celebrate their team’s achievements. In addition, I hope the blogs may be a form of inspiration to other clinical leaders. This week I am going to the Enhancing Practice Conference in Basel, Switzerland and I am using the published blogs as narrative for a presentation about the Inspire Improvement Fellowship  and what the fellows are achieving in practice.

Making Change Happen

14 August 2018

Laura Platt, Primary Healthcare Facilitator

This blog has been reprinted from Intergrated Practice News, published by Salford University staff and students. For more information on the Integrated Practice in Learning Disabilities Nursing and Social Work programme at Salford University, contact Noel Fagan n.c.fagan@salford.ac.uk.


Six months ago I started in a new role, Primary Healthcare Facilitator. It is a varied and exciting role which I have been able to help shape as it was a new initiative within the team. My main job role is to increase the number of people with a learning disability going for their annual health check to 75% by 2020, in line with NHS England’s targets. Whether I have done this for 2017/18 remains to be seen as the data for quarter 4 isn't available at the time of writing.  


However, what I have done is meet with every GP practice in Stockport and raised awareness of the role, I’ve produced a leaflet for all the schools, day centres and respite services raising awareness of annual health checks and getting on the LD register at their local GP surgery. I have also arranged a number of GP masterclass training sessions covering learning disability awareness, communication, reasonable adjustments, mental capacity and best interests, the equality act and the accessible information standard. I’ve been raising awareness of the Health Charter and signed up to do training for the support workers about promoting good health and mental capacity. I’ve created a list of read codes to ensure that the GPs' hard work is recorded and they get paid for the work they are doing. I’ve co-hosted a Diabetic Xpert course for people with learning disabilities alongside the dietician who does the Diabetic Xpert Course in our area and there’s been talk of me setting up other groups as well as partnership with other professionals.