Family Nurse Partnership

The Family Nurse Partnership programme was first introduced in the Derry, Strabane and Limavady district council areas in 2010. The Western Trust was the first Trust in Northern Ireland to introduce the programme, which offers young mothers aged 19 years old and younger the opportunity to avail of professional one to one support throughout the duration of their pregnancy and up until their baby is two years old. The programme primarily focuses on the future health and wellbeing of the child and mother and centres on prevention and early intervention.

Parents are offered intensive and structured home visiting, delivered by specially trained ‘family nurses’. In doing so the programme hopes to bring about huge benefits such as readiness for school, improved educational achievement and a reduction in anti-social behaviours.

The FNP has been warmly received - every parent wants the best for their child and many struggle with the idea that they are not doing the best they can do. This programme helps young parents deal with these common insecurities, it gives them a place to turn if they are struggling or need advice on parenting. The nurses offer advice and encourage best practice methods to healthy lifestyles which will benefit both parents and baby. Parents can be relaxed knowing that with the help, support and guidance from the family nurses they are better equipped for daily life and feel positive that their child is being given the best care.

Read about Nadene's involvement in the Family Nurse Partnership below... 

Nadine’s Story: “When I found out I was pregnant the shock of it nearly knocked me off my feet”

For many the news of pregnancy is an overwhelming moment of joy and happiness but for some this unanticipated news can turn your whole world upside down. Pregnancy is challenging at the best of times, but when you’re a teenager and pregnancy isn’t planned, your GCSE’s are looming and you have to tell your family – pregnancy is completely terrifying.

Derry Teenager, Nadine Melarkey a Year 14 pupil at St Mary’s College, unexpectedly became pregnant at the young age of 15, with her GCSE exams just around the corner. Telling her story to the Western Trust Board, Nadine talked about her pregnancy and how she was supported by the Family Nurse Partnership programme.

The Family Nurse Partnership programme was first introduced in the Derry, Strabane and Limavady district council areas in 2010. The Western Trust was the first Trust in Northern Ireland to introduce the programme, which offers young mothers aged 19 years old and younger the opportunity to avail of professional one to one support throughout the duration of their pregnancy and up until their baby is two years old. The programme primarily focuses on the future health and wellbeing of the child and mother and centres on prevention and early intervention.

“When I found out I was pregnant the shock of it nearly knocked me off my feet. I was going to be the only pregnant girl in a small school and my relationship was already breaking down. I knew I had to tell my mammy as well”.

When Nadine was offered the help from the Family Nurse Partnership, she took it; “I took any help offered to me and it became a lot easier. Nadine was then assigned her own dedicated nurse, Kathleen McDevitt who was able to offer her one to one support.

“I had no experience of young children being the youngest in the house and this scared me a lot. I was 30 weeks pregnant at my school formal. I was so scared but knowing that Kathleen was on hand made things so much easier. I was able to feel more relaxed and was reassured that everything was going to be ok”.

“Kathleen explained to me what to expect through my pregnancy, what feelings to expect surrounding my pregnancy and my relationship, and also what to expect in labour”.

Nadine explained how it was difficult telling her mummy the news, but once she got over the initial shock their relationship became stronger and her friends were also very supportive.

As Nadine’s due date drew near so did her GCSEs exams. She persuaded her consultant to induce her five days after her due date. Before giving birth Nadine sat one of her exams and sat the remaining just three days after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, Ellie. Nadine explained that despite having a baby in the middle of her exams, she still managed to achieve an A, three B’s and four C grades. Clearly a determined and self-motivated individual, Nadine said that motherhood will not hold her back from achieving her dreams.

“The FNP programme has been vital in helping me prepare for labour and bonding with my baby girl Ellie. Ellie turns two now in May and she is a wee dote” Nadine explained.

Nadine is due to graduate from the Family Nurse Partnership when Ellie turns two and has expressed an interest in becoming a volunteer for the scheme. Since the programme started it has helped over 128 young mums through their pregnancy. “I would have been lost without them” Nadine ended.