What a thrill and privilege it is to have been appointed as the Chair of the Florence Nightingale Foundation. Just to be linked with the most famous nurse in the world is wonderful, but to help take forward the esteemed work of the Foundation in developing future leaders and in promoting excellence in patient care is a great honour.
I see my role as being an energetic leader of the Foundation’s Board of Directors in its continuing efforts to shape the strategic direction for delivering the Foundation’s mission and vision, and to be recognised as a memorial to Florence Nightingale worldwide. My personal five key aspirations are:-
- To continue to provide the Foundation’s three highly regarded Scholar Leadership Development Programmes aimed at Emerging Leaders, Aspiring Leaders and current Senior Leaders. During this past year, the Foundation was commissioned by the NHS to develop and mount additional leadership programmes for specifically targeted groups including one for BME nurses and midwives and another for nurses working in the field of learning disabilities. In partnership with the NHS, the plan is to continue to provide this expanded portfolio of programmes which will contribute to the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives during its well-documented current staffing crisis. Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, has announced a ‘personal guarantee’ to restore the previously slashed funding for continuing professional development and my objective will be to bid for a significant part of these funds.
- I believe the Foundation can and should become a powerful voice for nurses and midwives and, to this end, the Foundation is currently in the process of establishing an Alumni Association of past and future scholars. Self-evidently, this body will comprise a sizable and influential cohort of top nurses and midwives who will be act as powerful ambassadors adding weight, passion and credence to any debate in which the Foundation wishes to engage. Based on the initial scoping of current scholars, the most common themes to address are networking events on both a national and local basis and access to further mentoring and coaching to assist career development.
- Establish a nursing policy capability. The four UK Chief Nursing Officers and their teams provide exceptional advisory and policy impact at the highest level through their direct access to government ministers. However, contact with hundreds of emerging, aspiring and senior leaders indicates that there is a strongly held belief that many feel unable to contribute to decisions affecting care delivery and the quality of the patient experience. Even some nurse leaders on Trust Boards struggle to exert significant influence on corporate agendas which impact on patient care. I believe that if Florence Nightingale were walking the corridors of power today, she would be ensuring that the nursing voice was heard and heeded. I am discussing with key stakeholders in the UK how the Foundation could help address this issue and develop a capability to enable it to become the ‘go to’ organisation for informed opinion and advice on all issues which impact on the health and well-being of our populations.
- A key issue which has been raised by many recently qualified nurses and midwives is the need for greater clarity of the career development opportunities available and the associated educational preparation required to advance their careers. As these workforce issues are being considered by NHS Leadership and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, I intend that the Foundation should play its part in this vital mapping and development.
- To support the development of the implementation of ‘Pathways to Excellence’ which enables the outcomes delivered by nurses and midwives to be of the same high standards throughout the country. This is a mission of Dr Ruth May, the new Chief Nursing Officer of England. The Foundation will work with her as she develops a robust accreditation model and associated recognition procedure along the lines of that adopted in the USA by so called magnet hospitals.
2020 marks the bi-centenary of Florence Nightingale’s birth and the WHO has designated next year as the ‘Year of the Nurse and Midwife’ so there is much on the immediate horizon. A high spot of a variety of worldwide events will be an international nursing and midwifery conference to be held in London that will celebrate the achievements of nursing globally and also recognise the lifetime achievements of this most famous icon. The Foundation is acting as the focal point for coordination and planning purposes and is responsible for chairing a Steering Group of key stakeholders. The launch of the conference and details of the programme was announced on May 15th, the day of this year’s Commemorative service in Westminster Abbey.
The other significant development followed from the 2016 publication by the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health’s ‘Triple Impact of Nursing’ report and the subsequent establishment of the ‘Nursing Now’ campaign supported by funds provided by the Burdett Trust for Nursing. This campaign is generating worldwide momentum with many leaders coming together to further develop and increase the impact of nursing. Additionally, the campaign has launched the ‘Nightingale Challenge 2020’ which is encouraging every large employer of nurses and midwives to provide leadership and development training for 20 young nurses and midwives in 2020. The aim is to have at least 20,000 individuals benefitting from this initiative and the Foundation will be at the forefront in helping to deliver this expectation. The Foundation will be running a promotional workshop in cooperation with the Nursing Now team at this year’s ICN Congress in Singapore.
Almost certainly, across the globe, the influence of nurses and midwives will increase and I will be helping to ensure that the Foundation plays a full role in helping to deliver on a set of expanding but fascinating challenges. I suspect that Florence Nightingale would be proud of what the Foundation has achieved thus far and will continue to achieve in the future.
Dame Yvonne Moores, Chair
British Journal of Nursing, June 2019