Chris Benson

Director of Patient Care, St Peter’s Hospice 

‘I was fortunate enough to be awarded the Richard Tompkins Scholarship in 2013.

The scholarship has left me with a real vision about how I want to be as a  manager and how I want to support my managers to enable their own teams to develop and flourish. Whilst my career has progressed in to senior management rather than direct practice improvement, the principles of facilitation, engaging and collaborating with  staff, and the development of a positive  workplace culture couldn’t be more transferable. My initial project was related to developing a positive workplace culture of a small hospice team, and my subsequent roles have enabled me to continue to build on the knowledge I gained.

I am now in the fortunate position where I can enable other staff to engage with the work of FoNS via Practice Development School and find that 5 years on I am just as excited when discussing the opportunities that Practice Development School offers as when I first experienced it. PD school itself was a course like no other, but the opportunity of a year’s mentorship that the scholarship offered was truly invaluable. Working regularly with Kate really allowed me to make that theory practice transition and continued to challenge my ways of thinking, engaging and facilitating. It felt like learning a new language, and I needed to continually practice to remain fluent.

Other highlights from being a Richard Tompkins scholar have been the huge privilege of meeting esteemed professionals such as Tony Butterworth, Loretta Bellman, Jan Dewing and of course the fantastic team at FoNS. It is inspiring to meet and talk to such fantastic role models in nursing, and on each occasion it reminded me of what a fantastic and diverse profession we belong to.

When I first read about the Richard Tompkins scholarship I remember feeling excited about the opportunity and both thrilled and nervous when I learnt I had been successful. I would encourage any nurse to apply; it is a unique development opportunity that really will positively influence you for the rest of your career.’

Read Chris’s reflection on her learning in the International Practice Development Journal