By Jeff Ahmed, Family Nurse Supervisor and The Family Nurse Partnership Team in Wigan Borough
Over the past 10 years, The Family Nurse Partnership, which is run by Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has supported hundreds of vulnerable first time young mothers in the borough.
Here, Family Nurse Jeff Ahmed explains more about the team and the work of the specially trained family nurses. They support young mothers from early pregnancy until a child is two with everything from health and wellbeing to caring for their baby and planning their future.
The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is a voluntary programme for vulnerable first time young mothers under the age of 20 in Wigan Borough.
We know that becoming a parent for the first time can be a daunting prospect so we aim to offer both practical and emotional support to anyone coming into our service.
Our specially trained family nurses build trusting and therapeutic relationships with young mothers, their partners and families.
We offer intensive and structured home visiting weekly to fortnightly and support young people with non-judgemental, strength based advice and information on everything from having a healthy pregnancy to child health and development to employment and finance. We also aim to build their self-efficacy.
Many of the young people we work with have had challenging backgrounds. Some have difficult relationships with their families or partners so lack a support network, while some have low self-esteem or engage in risky behaviours.
We try to work with young people to build their trust, improve their self-confidence and find out what their strengths are.
We can then identify ways we can improve their life chances through areas such as positive parenting (early attachment) education and employment. We also help them with areas such as finance, housing and more.
We also work closely with other children’s services such as health visitors, midwifery and school nurses as well as partner organisations. We take referrals from different services such as midwifery but we also welcome referrals from young people themselves.
If you would like to access our service please visit www.bridgewater.nhs.uk/ashtonleighwigan/familynursepartnership/ to find out more.
Case study: Jodie and Frankie-Joe
At 19, Jodie McDonald from Leigh was referred to the service by her midwife when she was pregnant with her daughter Frankie-Joe. More than three years on, Jodie is keen to promote the benefits of the Family Nurse Partnership to others.
“When I was first visited by Paula, my Family Nurse, I was quite defensive but once I got to know her, I realised that she just wanted to help me. She gave me a lot of support through my pregnancy visiting me every other week. She gave me lots of information so I could make my own decisions. I was quite anxious and wary about meeting new people but she was like a friend who gave me support when I needed it.
“She helped me with an application for housing so I could move into my own home. I am a totally different person now. I have a job in a care home and she built up my confidence to become a good mum.
“I set up an online support network for other young parents. I also convinced a friend who was pregnant to join the Family Nurse Partnership programme. There is something very special about going through something and getting on the other side and being able to help others.”
Paula Johnson, Jodie’s Family Nurse added:
“It is so rewarding seeing how well Jodie is doing. We appreciate how hard it is being a young mum. Family Nurses try to give information to mums so they can make their own informed choices. We aim to teach mums the key skills they need to enhance their child’s development so they are ready for school. We also want to increase their self-esteem so they can return to work and form positive relationships.