Child and Maternal Health
Family Nurse Partnership Scotland – Guest blog
Anne, a family nurse in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, has provided our guest blog to share some insights into the role of the family nurse, what it means to her and how it benefits clients.
What is the Family Nurse Partnership
Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is an early intervention, licensed home visiting programme which is offered to first-time mums and their families, aged 19 and under. The programme begins in early pregnancy and is orientated to the future health and wellbeing of their child. The family will remain on the programme until the child is 2 years old when they will transfer to health visiting services.
Family nurses come from a variety of professional backgrounds including health visiting, midwifery and mental health and undertake further education at Masters Level to equip them for the new role. FNP is based on the theories of human ecology, attachment and self-efficacy. The 3 overarching goals are:
- To improve antenatal health and birth outcomes
- To improve child health and development
- To improve parents economic self-sufficiency
What made you apply to become a Family Nurse?
The role of family nurse greatly appealed to me as not only did it offer the opportunity to work with teenage first time mums, but also fathers and grandparents too. FNP embodies a strength based approach which draws on the mother’s ‘strengths’ to encourage desired behavior change. Importantly, the programme provides over 40 years of evidence-based research developed by Professor David Olds of improved outcomes for families, including resent research on how FNP confers primary prevention in safeguarding children.
Describe your average day:
There is no average day as Team B work across three local authorities of East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and Renfrewshire, resulting in travelling varying distances. My visits will last between 1 -1.5 hours where I will generally be found in clients houses
delivering the programme under the domains of personal health, maternal role development, environmental health, life course development and their relationships with friends and family. I will also be exploring play and learning with a focus on child development. Due to the ongoing brain development of the teenage mothers we explore their responses to their child, and how they can be the ‘best mum they can be’. The therapeutic relationship developed between parents and their nurse is of key importance, as the family nurse will be the one consistent professional involved for 2 ½ years. As part of my role I deliver the universal pathway, healthy children’s programme normally undertaken by the health visitor. A main focus of visits is to demonstrate and model key concepts of play, learning and love. Additionally, I could be involved in our ongoing education programme where we role-play motivational interviewing skills and share new learning to ensure we are improving practice. Weekly supervision with our Supervisor provides the reflective space to analyse child protection concerns. On a monthly basis supervision will also include a clinical psychologist to support detailed exploration of assessments completed. Frequently our Supervisor will shadow visits to provide feedback on areas identified by the nurse for development. Much of my time is involved in multiagency working with my health, social work and third sector colleagues ensuring the principles of Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) are delivered. I work closely with my social work colleagues to ensure, as the named person I am a key partner in child protection process and contribute towards the Children’s Plan where risks are identified. We are constantly working with complexity, risk and uncertainty and it is important that we ensure that the young women on the programme have access to and engage with other services and partners.
What part of being a family nurse do you enjoy the most?
FNP uses a strengths based approach which provides parents with valuable practical and psychological information throughout the key stages of pregnancy and the first 2 years of a child’s life. However not only does the programme deliver practical information, it allows parents to explore their backgrounds of being ‘parented’ and offers insights into their parenting whilst exploring new ways which they can parent their child . The programme very gently shines the light on behaviours and interactions and the impact parental behaviours can have on their children. Also, it explores ways parents manage their own emotions and self-regulate which in turn will help them manage the emotions of their child. Additionally, attachment, support networks and motivation of clients to access resources in the local community are explored. The part I enjoy most is watching the parents become aware of the impact their behaviours are having on their children and changing these to become ‘the best parents they can be’.
What do you think clients get from having a family nurse?
The parents have one consistent professional in their life for 2 ½ years whom they will build a strong therapeutic relationship with. Having this consistent person allows in-depth exploration of many issues teenagers face with including: parenting; benefits, housing relationships and working respectfully with agencies. Being trauma-informed helps us to understand the impact of Adverse Childhood Experience (ACES) on the young women and their families and how we can help prevent their children experience ACES. The nurses use motivational interviewing to encourage positive behaviour changes. This is led by the parent as they are the expert in their own life. Importantly, Family nurses model an attachment based relationship by being responsive, reliable and trustworthy -the behaviours which parents are encouraged to demonstrate towards their child. The feedback from clients have been rewarding as they have advised through a variety of ways including focus groups and patient opinion they value greatly the strengths-based approach, resulting in them feeling ‘not judged’.
What would you say to anyone who is eligible for a Family Nurse and not sure if they want to accept the service?
When any client is considering FNP, a family nurse will offer to visit to explore any questions or concerns. The family nurse will provide information on previous client feedback and explore ways in which the programme can encourage the mother to reach their goals.
Finish this sentence: I am proud to be a Family Nurse because…
This role provides immense satisfaction in observing clients progress towards improved outcomes for themselves and their children’s future.
What do you do to unwind after a busy day?
I enjoy meditation and cycling which allows me to unwind after a busy day and recharge my batteries.