Case Studies

The Family Nurse Partnership: Core Skills in Motivational Interviewing

The Family Nurse Partnership: Core Skills in Motivational Interviewing

The UK Family Nurse Partnership is an extremely successful evidence-based programme originating in the United States. Proven results over thirty years, including three randomised control trials, show that it improves the lives of vulnerable young children and mothers in the short, medium and long-term. In US trials the programme has consistently been found to result in:

  • Improved pregnancy outcomes
  • Reduced child abuse and neglect
  • Improved school readiness
  • Reduced youth crime

The successful delivery of the programme is highly dependent on the nurse practitioner building a therapeutic relationship with the client and skillfully adapting the programme to the perceived needs of the client. US research also showed that nurses skilled in Motivational Interviewing (MI) had lower rates of attrition with fewer clients leaving the programme.

In 2009, when the UK Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools and Families wished to scale up a small trial and roll out the programme in England, they were very clear that quality, effective training in Motivational Interviewing needed to be at the heart of the initiative. MI was seen as a core part of the family nurses' learning programme giving them skills to support client centred adaptive behaviour change.

The brief

Following open international tender, and with the support of Professor Stephen Rollnick, co-developer of MI, Ignition was commissioned to:

  • Develop and deliver an extensive training programme in Motivational Interviewing
  • Develop a team-based learning programme for supervisors and their teams to use independently
  • Build capacity and capability within the Department of Health FNP central team so future MI training could be provided in-house

Over two and half years, in collaboration with Anne Rowe, FNP Implementation Lead, and Professor Rollnick, Ignition developed and delivered at sites across the UK:

  • Core training in MI to several hundred FNP Nurses
  • MI skill development training
  • Supervisor training with an emphasis on experiential 'action' techniques for peer group coaching
  • Learning materials aimed at consolidating MI practice
  • Learning materials aimed at developing MI practice
  • A bespoke Training for MI Trainers programme, including mentoring and coaching of lead staff members

Successful outcomes

Ann Rowe, Implementation Lead and with whom Ignition worked closely over the life of the contract said in April 2011:

“Now that the Ignition contract with [the Family Nurse Partnership] at [Department of Health] has come to an end, I wanted to email formally to thank you and the Ignition team for all the training that you have provided for us over the last two years.

You and your team have always provided a very professional service and high quality training, which has been consistently evident from the nurse feedback. In addition you made great efforts to understand FNP and tailor the training provided to fit as well as possible, adapting and shaping it as you learned more over time. It has been very heartening to feel that your team were in tandem with our desire to support the nurses to develop their skills, so that the families receiving FNP have the best possible chance of benefiting from it.”

2014 Update

In 2014 the FNP is undergoing its largest expansion yet, being rolled out across many more sites in England and Scotland. We wish them the greatest success.