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Supporting first time teenage mums through pregnancy, birth and beyond

A hugely successful programme delivered by the Children’s Division of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is entering its’ second year of operation working with first time mums (and dads) aged 19 and under, working alongside them to improve their own and their babies’ health from  pregnancy until their child is 2 years of age.

Teenage boy and girl talking

The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) is a national, licensed, evidence based programme and following a successful tender by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, launched in April 2015. 


FNP in Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust is delivered by two teams of family nurses, each with a supervisor, one based in Basingstoke working across Basingstoke, Rushmoor and Hart and one team based in Gosport covering Gosport and Havant.


FNP is a voluntary programme which means young people can choose whether to take up the offer of the FNP programme or not. So far, the programme has been a resounding success, with many of the nurses each working with over 20 women. In just 13 months, the service has supported 166 women and is experiencing high numbers of women choosing to enrol on the programme.


The role of the family nurse is to work with young women to achieve their own goals. This varies in so many ways from one person to another. The nurses have a close therapeutic relationship and work with the women to look at their health habits. This involves preparing them for the birth of their child as well as any other aspects of their personal, social or emotional wellbeing which may affect their own or their babies’ health. The FNP teams have strong links with the local midwifery teams, social services, housing and many other council and voluntary agencies that support young and vulnerable adults. 


Penny Bennett, a family nurse based in Rushmoor, describes some of the work she does with her young mums:


“There is no such thing as a typical day – although we deliver a licensed programme what we do is unique and flexible to allow us to work with matching the programme to their needs. I can be visiting a five week old baby in the morning, a six month baby at lunch and a pregnant woman that same afternoon; it really is a job of variety.  We have fantastic support in place for ourselves too and for patient safety; including weekly supervision and monthly psychology supervisions as well – making sure we are looking after ourselves as well as our young families. The job is really intensive and often emotional – I am fully dedicated to what I do”


Young mums describe how this service has offered them support during this life-changing time. 


‘My family nurse has helped me think about the kind of Mum I want to be, I want to do things differently to how I was brought up. I have been able to talk to my family nurse about how having a baby has changed my relationship with my partner and how to talk to him about how we can work together as he was in care and didn’t have a good experience of growing up. Having a family nurse has helped me understand things I didn’t know about me and my baby’s health, also supported me a lot through Childrens Services and other problems’.


Another mum describes how the programme has given her confidence:


‘The FNP programme makes me think about things differently and gives me the confidence to believe in myself. Being on the FNP programme means I have learnt so much about my baby’s development. The family nurse does great activities around baby’s development which means you get to have fun whilst learning important information. It has helped with other services, i.e. social services, especially around the parenting assessment as we had already covered a lot of these things with FNP.


It has been very informative throughout pregnancy and taught us things about bonding and attachment that we wouldn't have known otherwise. There have been great resources and activities such as bump cushions in pregnancy, trust flower and bonding beads. There has also been help with referrals and food parcels’.


Fiona Butt, supervisor for the Family Nurse Partnership in Basingstoke has praised the work of both teams and the women who have been on the programme “What our teams do is amazing, they are building relationships with people who have historically, been defined as “hard to reach” and disengaged with health services. The programme is intensive, for both the nurses and the clients so we are delighted to have so many young people have enrolled with us and engaged in the programme to achieve the best outcomes for them and their babies”


Ginny Taylor, Head of Children’s Services for Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust “I am so proud of the work the teams are doing; I have been  privileged to hear first-hand from our young parents what a difference the FNP nurses have made to their lives and that of their new babies”

The service is available to anyone living in the areas of Basingstoke, Rushmoor, Hart, Havant and Gosport, they must be aged 19 or under and notification into the service can be made directly or via family member, friend, midwife, GP, social worker or housing officer. 

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