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The feasibility of delivering group Family Nurse Partnership

Jacqueline Barnes (Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK)
Jane Stuart (Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London, London, UK)

Journal of Children's Services

ISSN: 1746-6660

Article publication date: 20 June 2016




The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the feasibility of delivering the group family nurse partnership (gFNP) programme, which combines elements of the family nurse partnership (FNP) programme and Centering Pregnancy and is offered from early pregnancy to 12 months postpartum to mothers under 25.


A mixed method descriptive feasibility study. Quantitative data from anonymised forms completed by nurses from November 2009 to May 2011 (pilot 1) and January 2012 to August 2013 (pilot 2) reporting referrals, attendance and client characteristics. Qualitative data collected between March 2010 and April 2011 (pilot 1) and November 2012 and November 2013 (pilot 2) from semi-structured interviews or focus groups with clients and practitioners.


There were challenges to reaching eligible clients. Uptake of gFNP was 57-74 per cent, attendance ranged from 39 to 55 per cent of sessions and attrition ranged from 30 to 50 per cent. Clients never employed attended fewest sessions overall compared to those working full time. The group format and the programme’s content were positively received by clients but many struggled to attend regularly. FNP practitioners were positive overall but involving community practitioners (pilot 2) placed more stress on them.

Research limitations/implications

Further feasibility and then cost and effectiveness research is necessary to determine the optimal staffing model.

Practical implications

The content and style of support of the home-based FNP programme, available only to first time mothers under 20, could be offered to women over 20 and to those who already have a child.

Social implications

A range of interventions is needed to support potentially vulnerable families.


This new complex intervention lacks evidence. This paper documents feasibility, the first step in a thorough evaluation process.



The authors would like to express the thanks to all the clients, their partners, the FNP Family Nurses and other professionals who took the time to take part in the interviews and to the FNP Family Nurses, supervisors and administrators who made sure that all relevant programme forms were completed and submitted while they delivered this new programme. The authors would also like to express the thanks to Mary Griffiths, FNP National Unit Service Development and New Projects Lead with responsibility for managing the development and refinement of gFNP, for her ongoing discussions about gFNP delivery and to Samantha Mason, FNP National Unit Research and Implementation Director for her feedback on all research reports. Thanks are also due to Beth Howden for organising and converting data from the various forms, to Juliet Henderson for conducting and interpreting pilot 1 interviews and to Elizabeth Klauber for conducting some pilot 2 interviews. Pilot 1 was funded by a grant to Professor Barnes from the Department of Health (ITT 53166) and pilot 2 was funded by grants to Professor Barnes from the Department of Health (ITT 58587) and the Family Nurse Partnership National Unit at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.


Barnes, J. and Stuart, J. (2016), "The feasibility of delivering group Family Nurse Partnership", Journal of Children's Services, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 170-186.



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