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How team learning benefits families

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Effective training is essential to ensure family nurses are capable and competent

I am the family nurse supervisor for the family nurse partnership (FNP) programme at Liverpool Community Health. The FNP is a preventive, early intervention programme offered to first- time young mothers, where one family nurse works with the family from early pregnancy until the child is two.

The FNP programme was created in the US and has been developed over 30 years. Evidence from three randomised controlled trials in the US has shown it has consistent short- and long-term benefits for children and families; it is now being replicated in England and tested via an RCT to see if it benefits children and families here too. The results of early evaluations look positive.

As part of the core FNP training, nurses need to learn about the programme and develop a range of specific skills and approaches.

It is my role as the family nurse supervisor to provide leadership, team learning and supervision to support the clinical work. A team of highly skilled family nurses who offer high-quality care is key to the successful delivery of the FNP.

I work with the family nurses to develop a strong, supportive team who are capable and competent to deliver an intensive home visiting programme to young clients with varying degrees of vulnerability.

Ensuring competency

● Create and maintain a two-way dialogue between supervisors and team members
● Provide a coordinated internal structure for nurses to work within
● Put in place continued review and training for staff on specific skills
● Create a supportive learning environment so team members are encouraged to continually develop and share knowledge
● Provide a space to reflect and practise skills to build their confidence and expertise

I coordinate and facilitate team learning to ensure that high standards of practice are developed and maintained. My role ensures initial learning self-assessments are undertaken and individual development programmes are in place. The family nurses’ competencies are assessed and developed and training is undertaken.

As a supervisor, I strive to create a positive learning environment, providing structured learning, reflection in supervision and coaching of skills alongside constructive feedback to support development through the FNP competency framework. Development and skills are further enriched by performance development review.

A continuous process of review, learning, reflection and team practice of skills ensures development is ongoing. This boosts competence and enables the nurses to support and work alongside clients, helping them to be the best parents they can be.

Creating a supportive learning culture and environment is a key part of my role and is central to the ethos of our team. Ongoing learning and reflection through weekly supervision, peer coaching and practising skills helps support consolidation of learning before and after the core FNP learning programme.

The team values having the space to reflect and practise skills. This builds confidence and expertise so they have the clinical and technical knowledge to deliver effective care based on evidence.

Ruth Taylor is the family nurse supervisor for Liverpool Community Health Trust. She has worked as a health visitor, midwife and with 0-19-year-olds in a community health capacity

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