'The spirit and ethos is about unconditional positive regard'

Care received after a childhood traffic accident inspired Anne Burns to take up a career in healthcare

Care received after a childhood traffic accident inspired Anne Burns to take up a career in healthcare. Now she's a family nurse partnership supervisor

Anne Burns

What is your job?

I am a family nurse partnership (FNP) supervisor in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) covering Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde. The FNP programme is a home visiting programme for young first-time mums, who enrol voluntarily on the programme following a visit from a family nurse.

A specially trained family nurse visits the young mum regularly, from the early stages of pregnancy until their first child is two. The FNP programme is underpinned by an internationally recognised robust evidence base, which shows it can improve health, social and educational outcomes in the short, medium and long term, while also providing positive economic returns.

I lead a team of six family nurses, a data manager and administrative assistant to deliver the FNP programme to clients – young women, 19 and under, who are having their first baby. The FNP supervisor also carries a small caseload.

The supervisor has a role in contributing to the expansion of FNP across NHSGGC as we scale up with quality to meet the Scottish Government’s vision of young women who are eligible being offered a place on the programme by the end of 2018.

Why did you become a nurse?

I was inspired to become a nurse when I had a road traffic accident as a child and spent more than a month in hospital. The quality of care was variable and I was inspired by both the exemplary and the less exemplary nurses in the ward.

Even as a young child, age 10, I could see and feel the difference.

What might you have done otherwise?

I may have had a career in early years childcare as I contemplated becoming a nursery nurse at one point.

Where did you train?

I trained initially at the Victoria Infirmary, now New Victoria Hospital, for my general nursing and at Rutherglen Maternity for midwifery. I undertook health visiting at Glasgow Caledonian University and had placements in South Glasgow.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

My job is the perfect combination of delivering the FNP programme to my own small caseload of clients, leading a team, strategic influencing, and development work.

I really enjoy the honour of working in such a person-centred way in FNP. The spirit and ethos is about unconditional positive regard, the client is an expert in her own life, with a focus on strengths, and working in partnership towards small steps of change.

What are the challenges of being a family nurse partnership supervisor? How do you overcome them?

There are many challenges in this role not least dealing with the complexity of clients' lives and how we can best support them, particularly when there are significant risks surrounding the young woman and her baby.

On a personal note, I feel it challenging when some colleagues ‘don’t get’ FNP and are critical of the programme without fully understanding it. Myself and the team see the amazing outcomes for our clients and their infants, and the changes that are made due to the programme every day.

What have you learned by being in this role?

I have learned so much about adolescent brain development, the impact of insecure attachment and adverse childhood experiences on the young women, and how this then affects their developing maternal role. I have also learned much about myself. Self-awareness is central to developing compassionate therapeutic relationships with clients and their families.

What has given you most satisfaction?

Seeing the clients and babies thrive.

What nursing achievement makes you most proud?

Getting nominated to be a Queen’s Nurse and subsequently receiving the award in December 2017.

What or who inspires you, and why?

The young women and the team inspire me every day.

Outside work what do you enjoy doing?

Spending time with my three amazing daughters and my husband. Hillwalking, reading, travelling to new places and having fun with friends.

What makes a good community or primary care nurse?

Being compassionate and having an understanding of an ecological model.

What advice would you give a newly-registered nurse?

Be kind and compassionate to yourself, keep learning about yourself, seek guidance and good quality supervision and allow space for creativity to stimulate new ways of thinking.

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