On Wednesday, I met with the Staten Island Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) team, led by Jo-Ellen, and comprising Stephanie, Denise, Susan, Maria and Nora. The team of nurses is supported by an admin person, who I didn’t meet on the day.
The Staten Island NFP is an inspiring team of dedicated and skilled nurses, with over fifty years of combined experience working with families. It is a testament to the satisfaction these nurses get from the work they do, that they have all been working in this program for at least seven years.
The NFP program supports low income women having their first baby. Referrals come from the local maternity service, preferably at around 16 weeks, but can be accepted up to 28 weeks. Women may also self-refer.
The nurses undertake regular home visits, during pregnancy and until the child is 2 years of age. These visits incorporate education and health promotion, related to the pregnancy and birth, and early child development and attachment. However, the program is client led, and aims to
help the client achieve her heart’s desire.
The Wall of Wonderfulness is a reminder to nurses when such achievements occur: graduated from high school, got a job, gained citizenship, mother and child reunited.
And the bouquet of hearts has heart-felt comments from clients, on the impact this program has had on their lives.
The nurses were interested to hear about Maternal and Child Health services in Victoria, and we were all struck by the similarities in our work, almost to the point of finishing each other’s sentences. And I left, very excited by the prospect of an earlier ante-natal connection with the more vulnerable mothers in our community.