health visitorRobyn Pound





LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01


Video from May 2012

15min video with Ruth and Robyn on helping baby George to sleep

Video from the 22nd October 2009

1) 6:10 min video on Values and

Living Theory

2) 5:50 min video on Qualities of


3) 6:89 min video on Qualities of

Relationship and Engaging Fathers.

4) 8:40 min video on Cultural


5) 5:46 min video on Questions of

Institutional Influence










I am passionate about health visiting and the opportunities it offers for working alongside parents and colleagues to improve the lives of children.  I know no other job that offers universal access to families across the social spectrum, across all ages, in homes and communities.  What a privileged working life I am having searching to improve, evaluate and explain what I do to build emotional well-being as a primary preventive response to public health issues.


This website is for sharing what I am learning about alongsideness in health visiting in families and their communities; how learning comes about for me and why it is important.  By sharing my experiences and emerging theories of practice I am inviting you to join me in bringing the values, skills and knowledge we find useful in community practice into the public domain in order to continue the process of improving what we do.  My current interest is in finding ways to share practical knowledge about working with very discouraged people who may experience social exclusion.


My concern is that unless we practitioners share our individually generated knowledge about how we practice, this information will not be available to those who make decisions about what is worth doing and the qualities involved in doing it effectively.  My PhD enquiry into my practice as a UK health visitor supporting developing family relationships was completed in 2003.  Here is the abstract.  If you would like to access the whole thesis, it can be downloaded as PDF files of individual chapters from the following link.


Link to PhD Thesis, 2003
How can I improve my health visiting support of parenting? The creation of an alongside epistemology through action enquiry

PhD Abstract


Motivated initially by rights for children, particularly freedom from violence, this thesis explores the enhancement of children's well-being in family life.   It shows the creation of a living theory of health visiting as I seek to understand, improve, evaluate and explain my support of developing family relationships.  From increasingly collaborative relationships with parents, colleagues, educational researchers and others, alongsideness emerges as an explanation I found appropriate to my parenting, health visiting and researching.    Alongsideness, meaning creating and sustaining connections that enhance collaborative enquiry, intends to support the generation of personal theory for application in practice.  


The thesis shows how I found theory of human emotional need useful for understanding and raising awareness about the needs of people in relationships and for problem-solving.  It illuminates the health-enhancing and educational possibilities of alongsideness for myself, children, their families and the communities they form.   It shows how I question personal beliefs arising from my history, as I reflect on my values and attempt to embody them for living as I practise.  Self-study enabled me to grapple with the dynamic, multi-dimensions of alongsideness in diverse situations, the dilemmas arising for understanding myself and for clarifying my practice values.


The thesis contributes to a new scholarship of enquiry for health visiting.  It shows how values generated and embodied in the process of enquiring can be transformed into living standards of judgement both for evaluating practice and for judging my claims to knowledge.  It explains how the generation of living theory through reflective action enquiry has potential for the improvement and explanation of practice.




Link to research proposal, 2003
 How can I/we support the development of family-centred public health, especially for reducing social exclusion and improving health through co-enquiry between health visitors, school nurses, our clients and other agencies?



Link to research report, 2005

How can I/we support the development of family-centred health visiting for improving wellbeing and reducing social exclusion? Co-enquiry project report  



Link to exploratory document, 2005
What knowledge do I currently use to tackle social exclusion as health visitor and where do the problems lie?



Link to presentation to Adlerian Society, London 2005

Creating alongsideness in community practice as we each ask, 'how can we improve what we are doing?'


Link to Contribution to Creativity|Works. October 2009

A Health Visitor's Alongsidedness


Reflective practice.  My reflective enquiries to improve my practice continued after completion of the PhD.  Here you can access some writing since 2003 and a presentation showing a pictorial account of my journey.  These papers show how my enquiry of alongsideness in health visiting responded to new questions arising about how I practise.  I was eager to share with my colleagues the excitement I felt from the reflective researching process.  The first two reports are about engaging colleagues.


A need to explain ourselves.    Thrown into turmoil by our Primary Care Trust disbanding the structure health visitors used for seeing all children, we were challenged to find new ways of working.  The PCT had made a quick response to the Hall Report (2003) which questioned the usefulness of universal contacts made routinely to children through their early years.  We needed to find ways of explaining what we were doing and why it was important for children.   Three years on with reduced resources we are trying to find ways of reinstating regular contacts with all children.


Reflective self study as research in the health service. The research proposal gave me an opportunity to check the acceptability of living theory action research in the Local Ethics Committee.  I discovered how much 'RCTs as the gold standard' for health research makes reflective action research incomprehensible for those who rely on traditional ways of knowing and researching.  Demands for measurable outcomes, comparative research and generalizable statements of findings for wide application makes reflective action research to improve, evaluate and explain individual practice.


Tackling social inclusion.  Health visitors were asked to use more targeted public health methods to tackle social inclusion.  I realised I could not meet all needs of the most disadvantaged families through alongsideness in family visiting and wanted to improve my support of the most vulnerable families in my area.  The exploratory document was intended to stimulate conversation about values that motivate front line practitioners.


A pictorial representation.  I discovered that 'being there' in the way that I call alongsideness is as important for discouraged families as it is for any family learning how to relate to their children but seemed not to be enough.  I wanted to do more.  I joined an Adlerian counselling course in the hope of finding new techniques for helping parents to make sense of their own disabling childhoods and learn to nurture and guide their children.  Here is a power point presentation made to the Adlerian Society, UK that describes my personal journey and health visiting experiences underpinning alongsideness, public health and community development work.


I welcome you comments experiences and thoughts about any of the ideas here at: