FoNS Blog

A reflection on my time at FoNS

13 March 2018

Sergeja Firer, Nursing Student, University of Maribor, Slovenia


1. Description

What happened?

Zadnjih nekaj dni, ki sem jih preživela v organizaciji FoNS, sem govorila z različnimi ljudmi. Predstavili so mi svoje delo, kako razmišljajo o stvareh, kaj želijo spremeniti v prihodnost in kako pomagajo ljudem da postanejo boljši na delovnem mestu. Spoznala sem čudovite ljudi in vesela sem, da so preživeli čas z mano in mi dali koristne informacije, ki mi bodo pomagale v prihodnosti.


I have spent the past few days at FoNS, talking with different people; about how they do their jobs, how they think about things, what they have done to change in the future and how they help people to be better at their jobs. I have met great people and I’m thankful because they have spent time with me and given me helpful information to help me in my future.


2. Feelings

What were you thinking and feeling?

Ko sem poslušala ljudi, ki so mi pripovedovali o svojem delu sem začela razmišljati, da so njihove ideje zelo dobre, vendar se mi je za tem postavilo novo vprašanje. Kako to izvesti v praksi in doseči rezultat, ki ga želiš? Kako lahko izboljšam prakso? Te misli so mi dajale pozitivne in negativne občutke. Pozitivni občutki so bili prisotni saj sem začela razmišljati o izboljšanju, vendar iz druge strani nisem vedela kako.


When I was listening to someone, I was thinking, ‘great, this is very good, but how do I do this, how do I achieve the desired result? How can I make changes in practice?’ These thoughts pleased me because I was thinking about how things could be better. But on the other hand, I was concerned because I wasn’t sure I knew how to do it.

Nursing Associates ...

06 March 2018

Theresa Shaw, FoNS CEO


The announcement that a new nursing associate role was to be established back in 2016 quickly provoked debate and divided opinion.


Like many, I was a little sceptical not least because as a nurse educator in the nineties, I supported several cohorts of enrolled nurses through the conversion course. I felt privileged to work with them and see them thrive and grow in confidence as they progressed through the programmes and achieved first level registration. So with the new proposal, I was also concerned that we may be stepping backwards, both ignoring the evidence base for care outcomes when nursing interventions are delivered by registered and graduate nurses and potentially opening the door again for two levels of nurse. Yet I also listened to many Nurse Executive Directors and Chief Nurses talk about the growing vacancy rates and concern that the skill mix of the existing workforce delivering care may not be adequate to meet care demands and the potential for care failures.

Three years on … an Australian researcher’s reflections on the impact of attending the IPDC Foundation Practice Development School hosted by FoNS in 2015

27 February 2018

Anne Williams, Prof Health Research, Murdoch Uni; Research Consultant, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital


In April 2015, I attended the IPDC Foundation Practice Development School hosted by FoNS at Herstmonceux Castle in East Sussex. Travelling from Perth Western Australia, the school was a time of intense learning for me. It also increased my self-awareness and connection to nursing. This experience has led me in some wonderful new directions and really enriched my work as a nurse researcher.   


 Anne Williams and Jo Odell at Herstmonceux Castle, April 2015


Reflecting back now over the past three years, there have been numerous times when what I learnt at the school has influenced the things that I have done. The school unlocked some of my inhibitions and extended my confidence to use creative arts and humor at work. The results of this have been quite infectious! Let me give you a few examples …


Research Week 2015

Each year Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital holds a ‘Research Week’ to highlight health research through activities and presentations. One of the activities in October 2015 was a fun multidisciplinary research debate on the topic: ‘Are Department of Health funds better spent on research or education?’ With only 24 hours’ notice, I was asked to be the nursing representative on the team defending the use of research funds. Having minimal experience in debating, it really was quite a challenge! However, feeling more confident after the Practice Development School, I decided to give it a go. Using ideas from the movie ‘Back to the Future’, I reflected back on how we nursed patients 30 years ago compared to today and I helped my team to victory, cheered on by the strong nursing contingent in the audience!

Nursing Now!

20 February 2018

Professor Dame Donna Kinnair, Director, Nursing, Policy & Practice at the Royal College of Nursing


I seem to be always talking about the challenges to nurses and our profession and recently it hasn’t made good reading. Shining a light on the current issues facing how we deliver high standards of care, how we influence the policy agenda with a government that doesn’t want to listen, and how we safeguard the health and welfare of nurses in the current climate of 40,000 vacancies. It is also  my role to shine a light on the value of the profession and why I am personally supporting Nursing Now!


Nursing and midwifery are professions that touch the lives of everyone, and reach into communities throughout the globe. In order for us to transform our world we need a profession that demonstrates little self-interest but exists to improve the lives of others. Our leadership is crucial in terms of improving the health and wellbeing of societies and we know exactly what it takes and how to enable communities for positive change. Although often neglected in terms of being mentioned, if we look at many of our public health campaigns, such as managing the outbreak of ebola or reducing tuberculosis, delivering care at a bedside or the historic improvements in health care, nursing has been central to them. There is often very little mention of nurses in any of the media coverage but it is nurses on the ground who are interacting with communities, working with them, educating people, innovating and implementing the strategies for health improvement. We, by working with people, whether as  patients, as families or communities, recognise how best to improve health, promote social cohesion and support social protection. Nurses are enablers for positive change and a vehicle for economic growth. It is this knowledge that makes us key to policy development and decision making for health improvements.  

Beyond Patients First

13 February 2018

Jilly Ireland, Professional Midwifery Advocate


I received a pack of nicely produced A4 ‘Improvement Insights’ from FoNS in the post the other day (‘Bump, Baby and Beyond’ – creative ways of designing antenatal preparation sessions in collaboration with women). It summarises the Patients First Programme project I was involved in for eighteen months from 2014 to 2016. During that period, I benefitted from collaborative learning with other teams in the workshops and from ‘living out’ the service improvement as it evolved with mentoring support from FoNS' practice development facilitator, Jo Odell.


The experience validated a lot of the feelings and experiences I had from a long working life in the NHS. I have seen changes imposed without consultation with those the changes affected most and I have seen better service improvement which had an eye for sustainability and ongoing evaluation from all stakeholders, including users. The input and support we had from FoNS gave validation not only to the ‘feeling’ that this is the right and correct approach but also the evidence. A powerful double effect.