I grew up in a very talky family. My mum was a speech therapist, my dad was a wonderful storyteller. Meal times were for chat, we had bedtime stories, on car journeys we played I-spy and The Lorry in Front. I was actually slow to talk myself - apparently I mostly sat in the garden eating grass. But I was a real talker by the time I started school.

Earlier in the month, FNP founder Professor David Olds took part in a webinar with FNP graduate, now Health Visitor, Jade Batten and FNP National Unit Director Ailsa Swarbrick. Professor Olds answered questions from the FNP community on whole of range of topics, including hearing the client voice, the ADAPT project, and engaging fathers

It’s a Wednesday morning at the end of February. I’m sitting at a table with a handful of FNP nurses, a Mr Potato Head toy and a stop watch. There’s a look of intense concentration on our faces as I time our best efforts to assemble our Mr Potato Head to match a picture in front of us as fast as we can.

A few months after my 18th birthday, I had just moved into my first home and started a new job; team leader in a local pub after a short period of unemployment and homelessness. I was enjoying being back on my feet and doing all the things 18 year olds do, when I unexpectedly found myself pregnant.

I believe passionately that learning is at the heart of change, progress and improvement. That’s why in FNP we have worked hard to develop an excellent, transformative learning programme for family nurses. It’s why we try to be honest about our failures, as well as our successes, and seek to learn from them. It’s why local teams use extensive data to inform and to challenge practice on a daily basis.

The importance of commissioning evidence-based early interventions is well documented; particularly those which mitigate against the potentially devastating impact of vulnerability factors and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).

The first 1001 days of a child’s life – from conception to 2 – are critically important. During this period, millions of neural connections are made and pruned. The brain is more ‘plastic’ or adaptable, and babies’ experiences literally shape their developing brains.

Whose voices do we not hear? What do we not give time for? When we are so focused on the present, are we losing the chance to shape the future well? Here’s my perspective, as I reflect on what 2018 has meant for us in the FNP National Unit.

Just over three years ago, when I first heard about FNP, I was terrified – I thought there was going to be someone coming around to judge me on whether I was fit enough to be a mother and asking me trick questions but I couldn’t have been more wrong

I heard about FNP through my midwife. I wasn’t in the best of places at the time. I don’t speak to my mum and I don’t have much family around. At the time I was worried they’d want to take the baby off me. I felt annoyed because I felt like they thought I couldn’t cope. I was 17, I knew I was young. I didn’t have a support network and I needed one. The midwife could see that and she was right.

Next