FoNS Blog

Sharing is caring: A mother's and son's journey

15 November 2018

Rachel Whittal-Williams, Hywel Dda University Health Board

I was very pleased to be accepted to present a ‘show and tell’ at the International Conference for Enhancing Practice 2018 in Basel, Switzerland (August 2018). The conference fell during the school holidays so I decided to share, what turned out to be a very special experience, with my oldest son. I think it was safe to say we were both excited but nervous leading up to the event!


I had spent the early part of the summer creating my show and tell. I gave my creation the title of ‘Unravelling Facilitative Leadership - A Personal Journey’ (Whittal-Williams, 2018). The presentation tells the story of the growth and development of a nurse new to the role of leadership as a Practice Development Facilitator. The work was based on an earlier project which I had led on ‘Let’s talk about miscarriage (Whittal-Williams and Jones, 2017), supported by the Foundation of Nursing Studies (FoNS) in partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing through the Patients First Programme. The project had gathered ten women’s stories of the lived experience of miscarriage. The main aim of the project was to communicate the stories back to health professionals involved in delivering miscarriage care.


The show and tell display used a hand-crafted blanket to describe how a stray thread within practice, miscarriage support, was picked up and pulled on. The analogy outlined the messages of facilitative leadership development by attaching the messages to the threads throughout the blanket. The blanket symbolised a common vision when it was whole. Unravelling the blanket symbolised the unravelling of the workplace, staff and ultimately the author herself as a facilitative leader. The plan then was to hand out these messages to the audience to hold and embrace the message.

Inspiring others: celebrating nurse-led care

13 November 2018

Sinead Pemberton, Tracie Harrold and Caroline Reeves

l-r: Sinead Pemberton, Tracie Harrold and Caroline Reeves

With the aim of inspiring others and changing perceptions of care home nursing, the team at Oakleaf Care have developed a short film with the help of Screen Northants. Screen Northants work in partnership with schools, charities and community organisations, making the film industry accessible to all. To create this film, they worked in partnership with people with learning disabilities, actively engaging them ‘on set’.


Oakleaf Care is a nursing-led service with a full multidisciplinary team that provides neurorehabilitation. Residents with full capacity were very keen to share their positive journeys on camera and a cross section of nursing and care staff were happy to showcase the good practice that takes place within the organisation. The staff involved in sharing their experiences included registered nurses, student nurses, a care support worker and the organisation’s first nurse apprentice.


We hope that the positivity within this short film reaches a wider audience and helps to raise the profile of care homes as a favourable place to work. Alongside attracting prospective staff members, we hope that this video provides reassurance to any viewers with an acquired brain injury, and their family members, that a whole range of health professionals work within this sector who aspire to fully optimise the highest quality care.


Click here to view the film. 

Challenging perceptions: From NHS to care home

06 November 2018

Pat Cassidy, Star and Garter Home, Solihull

l-r: Pat Cassidy with colleagues Becky Mullins and Cheryl Harborne

Prior to joining the team at the Royal Star and Garter in Solihull, I worked in a variety of roles in the NHS spanning 35 years. I made the choice to broaden my experience and it was with some trepidation that I entered the care sector, as I too had heard lots of negativity about working in care homes. I hoped I would be able to dispel many of the myths and perceptions of others and hoped that what I heard through various media was the exception rather than the rule.  


One of the first things that jolted my confidence was the realisation of how many strands there were to the job. I had been used to working with other professionals e.g. pharmacy services, stock ordering and control, I soon began to realise that as a registered nurse working in a care home, I have to be better than the rest. Not only was I using all the skills and knowledge I had gained throughout my career in the NHS, but I was also embracing a new model of dementia care. Taking advantage of training updates was crucial for me to deliver the best care possible. I realised that skills are vital; for example identifying the need to develop expert knowledge in areas such as safeguarding, deprivation of liberties (DoLS), infection control and wound care, to ensure that excellent care can always be delivered. This is important as there can be times when you’re the only regular (registered) member of the team and have to make decisions with just one chance to get it right. 

Creating a culture for all to learn, grown and develop in

30 October 2018

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator


Those of you that follow our blogs regularly will have noticed an absence of singing and chorus related blogs from me! For those of you new to our blog site I have been singing and a member of Spinnaker Chorus for nearly 10 years, and it’s an inspiring part of my life. Last weekend we attended the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) Convention along with 25 other choruses from around the UK.


After the dust settled following an exciting event filled with great singing and fun, I started to reflect on how, as a chorus, we have grown and developed and how much more confident and able we are as individual singers who take responsibility for learning our new songs. But it hasn’t always been like this. When I joined there was only the one audition when you joined. Then about five years ago a new audition process was introduced for every new song we learnt, by the then musical director (MD). The purpose of this was that each member would learn each new song and then send in a recording or audition for the section leader to listen to and confirm that we were singing the right notes and words. As a competing ‘a capella’ chorus who sing in four sections (bass, baritone, lead and tenor), we are constantly striving to improve. The process is called passing your ‘pink sequin’. At the time this was introduced there was a lot of anxiety about the change; having to sing on our own and manage the recording process, let alone listening to your own voice before sending the recording onto your section leader! But the MD stayed strong with her expectations. Then 3 years ago the current MD built on this process by introducing a time limit of 8 weeks to pass the ‘pink sequin’. So essentially, we were learning a new song every 8-12 weeks. This meant we have built up our repertoire of new and exciting songs in a short period of time.

Helping people to live well

23 October 2018

Ros Health, Helen Rain and Michelle Sills, Landermeads, Nottingham

L-R: Michelle, Helen and Ros


At Landermeads we are passionate about the work that we do to enable people to live well. We believe that each person is ‘feeling based’ and this is especially the case with people who live with a dementia; when they come to live with us they need to feel ‘at home’, supported by staff who can make emotional connections and to be a valued part of a family. This approach is central to our philosophy of care. Contrary to many perceptions of the care sector, we all think that it is a great place to work. We recruit staff who want to make a difference and who understand the importance of emotional connections and very often these are people who have never worked in care before. Our most important resource is our staff and, with this in mind, we decided that we would like to create a video that would share our passion and enthusiasm and inspire others to seriously consider the care sector and care homes in particular as a positive career choice in which the opportunities to progress are bountiful.


We hope you enjoy the video. If you do, please share it!!


Here is the link for the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOvblI1Jm5g&feature=youtu.be


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