FoNS Blog

‘Hidden Figures’; the importance of shared goals and working to our strengths

21 March 2017

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator


I recently went to the cinema to watch the film ‘Hidden Figures’. This is the film based on the true life story of three female African American mathematicians, more commonly called ‘computers’ at the time, who worked at NASA during the space race between USA and the Soviet Union in the early 1960s.


What a truly inspiring film! It showed the best of the human race - in terms of the brilliance of the human mind, but also the ignorance in terms of sexism and racism that was a reality at that time in the USA. Segregation was still very evident and shockingly shown as one of the mathematicians, Katherine Johnson was promoted to an all white male team and clearly ostracised for the colour of her skin. She wasn’t allowed to drink the same coffee as the men and had a coffee pot labelled for ‘coloureds’. Also she was regularly shown racing across to the other side of NASA campus to use the only toilet designated for ‘coloured’ people. This only came to the attention of the men and her boss in particular when he challenged her about a prolonged absence from her desk. Thankfully the boss acted swiftly to make all the toilets for use by all.

FoNS at 30: Putting research into practice

14 March 2017

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO


So here we are in March and it's time for another of my blogs reflecting back on the work of FoNS over the past 30 years.


FoNS was established in 1987 after a thorough round of consultation to find out what would would really help support the advancement of nursing. One of the significant areas that was debated was nursing research, not the doing of research per se but the use and spread of research as a means of strengthening and improving nursing practice for the ultimate benefit of patients. Indeed, the early strapline for FoNS ‘Putting Research into Practice’ sent a clear message that simply doing research was not enough – more needs to be done to ensure the really excellent emerging research didn’t remain on shelves. 


Whilst noticing a wealth of high quality research and a clear acknowledgement of the importance of research by the then Government and Department of Health, FoNS found that there were significant gaps between research and practice. The gaps included variance in access to research along with a range of difficulties related to translating research findings into a language that facilitated action and change in practice. Ringing any bells…?

Experiences of the Patients First Programme

07 March 2017

Avril Sharman, Royal Bournemouth Hospital

l-r: Avril Sharman, Lesley Owen-Gray, Christopher Blainey, Belinda Hewett, Sarah Pillinger and Lisa Hacker

I am writing to share my experience of the FoNS Patients First Programme (supported by the Burdett Trust for Nursing) first two-day workshop and how inspiring it was.  Firstly some information about our clinical group and setting.


Our workplace is a busy, bustling orthopaedic outpatients department set within a good sized general hospital; Royal Bournemouth Hospital. The core business focusses on providing elective surgery, and aftercare and support for patients. The skill mix for the whole department is a vast multidisciplinary team including professors, specialist surgeons, associate specialists, nurse practitioners, healthcare assistants, plaster technicians, nurses, physios and hand therapists. We all work together very closely on a daily basis within combined clinics. The whole team works together within one department. We see an average of 700 patients over a Monday to Friday period although we have just  introduced twilight and weekend sessions.

Playing our Part: The work of graduate and registered mental health nurses in the United Kingdom 2017

28 February 2017

Professor Tony Butterworth CBE


What an exciting time we had on Monday! It was the launch of our report into the work of graduate and registered mental health nurses in the United Kingdom and hosted by our new patron the Baroness Mary Watkins, herself a mental health nurse practitioner and academic.

This was my second review exercise – the first being a Government review in 1994 which resulted in the report ‘Working in Partnership’. There was a further report in 2006 ‘From Values to Action’ and of course they were both useful products of their time. So much has changed since 2006 it was felt necessary to undertake another review and this is it! This one is different in that it was led by FoNS, not the Government, and suggests step changes and offers key messages. It does not tell people what to do.


We used a very innovative and very public approach through a social media platform which we believe has brought rich data and conversations. The inputs fed our 6 roundtable events held across the UK. All our background conversations can be seen on the blog site mhnurses.worpress.com and you can decide if we have done justice to those who played their part in delivering this work.



From left to right: Dr Theresa Shaw, Professor Tony Butterworth and Baroness Mary Watkins of Tavistock

Shining a light on what's great in care homes

21 February 2017

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO

Many of your will know about the Teaching Care Homes (TCH) Pilot Programme that FoNS has been supporting in Partnership with Care England. Our year is nearly up and a few weeks ago we had our final day with the teams we have been working with from five home across England.


I remember blogging about the teams at the start of the programme. I talked about their inspiring and at times emotional narratives and stories about the ways they and their colleagues were trying to provide a sense of ‘home’ for residents and person-centred care for them and their families. One of the many things the pilot programme set out to do was to shine a light on what is really great about many of our care homes up and down the country and the tremendous commitment of staff who work in care homes. It has been great to see how, through the pilot programme, individuals have become more confident in talking about their experiences, most especially through the blogs they have shared about day-to-day experiences that, in my view, make them exceptional.


All of the blogs have been posted on the Nursing Times Care Sector Microsite which is supported by Care England and open to all to access. It is certainly worth a visit and to get you enthused, I thought you might like to read what some of the participants have to say about the work they do every day: