Meet the scholars


Lisa Marshall is a senior sister at Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest. Starting her health career as a healthcare assistant, Lisa feels that as a ‘new band 7 in post’, this scholarship will benefit her personally as well as her team, enabling her to ‘reflect on my own values and knowledge through practice development’.

Janice Williams, Head of Nursing at Withybush said: ‘I am absolutely delighted that Lisa has been awarded a Richard Tompkins Scholarship 2018. The opportunity for Lisa to use this scholarship to facilitate her development is very exciting and can only result in improved care for patients in the future.’


Nicola Zroud is also a senior sister at Withybush Hospital in Haverfordwest.  She said she felt honoured and privileged to be awarded the Richard Tompkins Scholarship and thought that the opportunity would give her ‘the skills, knowledge and support I need to work with the team to break down some existing barriers and develop a positive workplace culture, making our ward a great place to work.’

Janice Williams, Head of Nursing said: ‘I am really excited that Nicky will be given the opportunity to flourish in her personal and professional development with the support and guidance provided through this scholarship. The challenges of a senior sister role are numerous and the opportunity to engage in such a programme is not only extremely motivating but also very exciting.’


Viki Jenkins is a heart failure advanced nurse practitioner at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Gwynedd. On winning the scholarship she said: ‘This opportunity will help me to develop both myself and my service. The residential school and mentorship programme is going to be a game changing opportunity and help me to drive forwards on improving patient care.’

Delia Roberts, Matron for District Nursing commented: ‘It is very inspiring for other Betsi Cadwaladr nurses to see what opportunities are available and I am sure that Viki will make the most of her learning from this.’


Louise Orchard is a ward manager at St Ann’s Hospital in Poole. She hopes the scholarship ‘will not only facilitate my growth as an individual but support my whole team to build on the fantastic work we already do.’ And she furnished us with an inspiring quote from another scholarship winner: “A scholarship means a reward for the past, opportunity for the future, and motivation for the present.”

Christian Winter, Mental Health Inpatient Services Manager said: ‘This will be a fantastic opportunity for Louise to learn more about person centred care and practice development. I know she will be proactive in bringing back innovative ideas which will benefit the patients on the ward and the wider hospital.’



Siobhan Weaver, Lead Nurse, Children's Continuing Care Team

"Dear Team,

 This week at Herstmonceaux Castle I have been learning about practice development. What I have experienced has been a personal journey of discovery. What I have learnt is that it is people who hold the answers; that using creativity alongside questioning and enquiry will enable great, meaningful and positive learning to happen. I would like to share 
this with you all.

You can support me by being open minded to what I show you and join in if you feel this is right for you. If you are worried, talk to me and tell me how we can work together to change and learn,

Love Siobhan x"

So this was my starting point as I left that beautiful week that was the FoNS hosted practice development school 2017. I have a job to do, I am ready and energised to make a change in myself. It's a different kind of energy than I am used to though. It's not the fizz popping, 'tigger' style enthusiasm that I have (occasionally) been known for - you know the one.... the overwhelming, over-riding, million miles an hour and already 10 points ahead energy. If I sit quietly, I can feel it deep within me. It's a step back and watch energy and I am practicing funnelling it in a completely different way.

So, my starting point ... 'talk to me - I will listen'. Active listening has never been one of my strong points. I know this now because so much of my calm energy is needed at the moment to make sure that I do it well. I am having to physically and mentally concentrate (hard) on doing it. My mind still likes to wander. I find a thought stream can take over and, if left unchecked, will consume my active listening, polishing it off in one swift gulp. I find I sometimes jump in with more directive (closed) questions, which are really just dressed up solutions (solutions, solutions) instead of allowing the silence (sometimes long, sometimes uncomfortable), facilitating the space for the person to find their own answer. I still find that I am more guiding that I really would like, but I am working on it.

'How are you keeping this up?' I was asked a few days ago by a colleague. I am writing reflections, nearly every day, for the first time in my nursing career (oh, how I wish I'd listened more thoughtfully to my wonderful personal tutor 20 years ago!). The reflections are personal and cathartic, enabling an exploration of the emotions that I experience on a daily basis ...'a step back, to take a step forward' and hey ... better late than never! They are aiding my learning, helping me discover (and rediscover) things that would have remained invisible to me. They create an energy of their own that sustains me and enables me to continue to improve my active listening skills. They are my memory to look back on lest I forget.

Recently I listened to a podcast from the Accidental Creative. Todd Henry shared his thoughts on 3 daily practices that he thinks can improve your life.

1) STUDY everyday (just 20-30 minutes of learning about something important to you),

2) REFLECT on the learning

3) take a WALK to help unlock the creativity in your learning.

I've been doing all three of these and I can tell you it's working for me. My learning is taking me on a wonderful journey - and my ultimate destination? To help co-create the right conditions in the workplace environment to facilitate person-centredness, learning cultures, wellbeing and healthfullness. It feels a big goal to achieve, but every journey starts with just one step and I know it is in the right direction.

Click the picture on the right to read Siobhan's 'Steller Story'.


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.