Family Nurse Partnership - getting children off to a good start

Heather Membride, Family Nurse and new mum, Rebeka Cameron
Heather Membride, Family Nurse and new mum, Rebeka Cameron

Children deserve the best start in life. That was the message at NHS Ayrshire & Arran’s Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) annual review.

The innovative Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) programme begins in early pregnancy and focuses on helping young women to have a healthy pregnancy and to feel confident about supporting their baby to grow, develop and learn.

Donna McKee, Senior Manager for Universal Services and FNP Lead, explains: “The FNP programme has been running now for two years. It is an important element of our early intervention and prevention work. The team has worked extremely hard to support the programme to become an established and valued service for young mums across Ayrshire and Arran.”

The programme involves a pattern of weekly and fortnightly visits from early pregnancy through to the child’s second birthday, and is designed to help young women and their partners develop an understanding of their baby, behaviour change, emotional development and the building of positive relationships.

The Family Nurse Partnership programme was developed in the US by Professor David Olds over a period of 30 years. NHS Ayrshire & Arran is the fifth Scottish health board to introduce the programme, which will be introduced across Scotland by the end of 2018. So far the team of one supervisor and seven nurses have worked with more than 170 young mums-to-be across Ayrshire, including the islands of Cumbrae and Arran.

As part of the review, young mum, Rebeka Cameron shared her experiences of the FNP programme.

Nicola Murphy, FNP Supervisor, explains: “Rebeka was 14 years old when she became pregnant. Becoming a mum at such a young age was hard for Rebeka. But by working closely with her Family Nurse, Heather, her confidence has blossomed.

“Not only is Rebeka able to give one-year-old Dylan the care and love that he needs, she has been able to secure a place in college, and hopes to pursue her dream of becoming a chef.”

Donna McKee adds: “I would like to thank Rebeka for coming along to the review and sharing her story. It is inspiring to hear how her confidence has grown despite some challenges along the way. She is a great mum and Dylan is a real credit to her.”