FoNS Blog

'I made a difference to that one'

19 September 2017

Kate Sanders, Practice Development Facilitator


I was walking the dog at the weekend in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral when something caught my eye. As I got closer, I could see that there was an installation of many starfish, and alongside was a board explaining. As you will see from the picture, there was a story about a boy who finds many starfish on a beach, and works his way along, throwing them back into the sea, one by one. He is challenged by a man who asks why he is bothering, as there were so many that he wouldn’t be able to make a difference. As the boy throws one of the starfish back into the water, he says ‘I made a difference to that one’.



Inspire Improvement: A New Programme from FoNS

12 September 2017

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator


Are you a clinical leader and interested in expanding your skills in facilitating culture change and continuous improvement of care and services at the frontline of practice?


FoNS has been a proud partner of the Burdett Trust for Nursing for the last 8 years, providing support and funding for the Patients First Programme. There have been 90 health and social care teams who have taken part in the programme, which has enabled them to develop news skills, knowledge and understanding, as well as confidence in leading changes in practice. It’s hard to calculate how many people and services have been impacted by the programme; patients, staff, carers, families and organisations across the UK have benefitted.


Building on this success and the partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing, Inspire Improvement is an exciting new programme which will develop a community of FoNS Improvement Fellows – clinical leaders with expertise in facilitating improvement and culture change at the frontline of practice. This new programme reflects the growing emphasis on the importance of leading and developing person-centred, safe, effective and caring cultures as highlighted by national reports such as Francis (2013) and West (2014). Culture change is much more of a priority now, yet understanding and achieving this is not easy or quick.

Independence can be important but ultimately partnerships can make us stronger

05 September 2017

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO


Part of the series of reflections by Theresa on FoNS and its work to celebrate FoNS’ 30 years supporting nursing


In the early years when FoNS was established there were many references to the merits of having an organisation that would offer an independent voice for nursing and nursing research. Being an independent organisation, independently funded and without a membership can indeed offer many advantages. FoNS didn’t need align itself to any particular policy or party line, rather FoNS could listen to and voice the views and perspectives from across the profession and where necessary, challenge the status quo. Early activities and publications quickly gained interest and were perceived as high quality. Adopting a constructive and professional approach also helped FoNS cultivate a reputation for being trustworthy and wise – people wanted to work with us.


Whilst standing strong as an independent organisation offered many benefits, not least a confidence in what we could offer, FoNS was, however, in real terms relatively small. Yes we were having an impact but to do more and reach out further with limited resources required a willingness to initiate and foster enthusiasm for collaboration and partnership. Collaboration and partnership can take many forms but is ultimately based on building authentic and equal relationships that are mutually beneficial. The result is that organisations and activity are strengthened. FoNS sought out likeminded organisations and groups who shared our values and objectives around advancing nursing and promoting improvement in care. Initially activities included joint working on events, conferences and awards with much success.

Beware of inspiring leaders! A matron on a mission!

29 August 2017

Rachel Bevan, Head of Patient Experience, Public Engagement & Volunteer Service, RBCH NHSFT


Here at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals (RBCH) NHS Foundation Trust, dignity is high on our agenda. Our yearly inpatient survey shows a sustained improvement in treating patients with dignity and respect since 2012 but we are constantly looking for ways to improve.


Along comes a matron on a mission. Trudi Ellis is one of the matrons for older people’s medicine and she has a passion for her role that is very infectious. She is making it her personal mission to end PJ paralysis at RBCH. With observational audits, and weekend reflections on how many patients were dressed in their own clothes, Trudi came to a dignity observation feedback meeting with an idea to raise awareness across the whole trust. Beware of the inspirational leader! Trudi came to the meeting with a plan and by the time she had finished talking we had all signed up to wear hospital pyjamas to work for one day, to spread the message - get up, get dressed, get moving. The Dignity Defenders as we became known, raising awareness on the importance of encouraging patients to get dressed. This helps patients to feel better and aids their recovery and for the older population, we know that 10 days of bed rest is equivalent to 10 years muscle wasting and building that muscle back up takes twice as long as it does to lose it (see Gill et al., 2004 and Hoening and Rubenstein, 1991).


I remember leaving the meeting totally inspired that we were going to be doing something different to raise awareness and make a difference, then

Building networks of support and partnership between health and social care

15 August 2017

Robin Willmott, Manager, Millbrook Lodge, Orders of St John Care Trust


At Millbrook Lodge we believe it is important for the nursing team to build a network of support and partnership with others to ensure excellent nursing care for our residents. One of the ways that we have supported our nursing colleagues to achieve this is through establishing a strong working relationship with the local GP practice. The practice teams coming into Millbrook Lodge on a weekly basis need to have consistent information delivered by an experienced team to enable them to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe effectively. To ensure that the flow of information meets this demand, of course the first step is having skilled and trained practitioners who can identify the residents’ changing clinical needs and understand which symptoms the medical teams need to be aware of. But that is not enough on its own.


Establishing understanding: As a new manager to the home nearly three years ago my primary task was to meet with the leadership team at the local GP practice and understand the issues and pressures that they experienced coming to the home. I gave the practice team a point of contact for reliable information, where concerns and comments could be discussed and shared. I was available to meet the medical teams when they came to the home which enabled me to observe and support their practice with the care home team. Once there was a working partnership established, we developed this further by supporting the surgery and local NHS provider with some research. This meant that we could form as a co-operative and learn how to work alongside each other acknowledging the skills that we have and combining these skills to create a good service for the resident-patient.