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London trust recognises 80 nurses with new professional award with historical link

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Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust has recognised the contribution of the next generation of “Nightingale nurses” with the creation of a new professional award.

About 80 nurses from the trust were presented with a Nightingale Nurse Award by Professor Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, at a special ceremony on Friday 11 May forming part of the organisation’s International Nurses’ Day celebrations.

“The Nightingale nurse title is highly valued by our nurses and midwives so we wanted to bring it back”

Eileen Sills

Named in honour of pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale, who established her first nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1859, the award is designed to recognise the achievements of outstanding nursing staff.

To receive the award, nurses had to provide evidence from their managers and fellow nurses and complete a programme of work accredited by King’s College London.

Award holders received a badge and certificate and will have the honour of being known as a “Nightingale nurse”.

The title harks back to the time when nurses who trained at the Nightingale nursing school and worked at St Thomas’ Hospital for over a year received a special blue badge and were known as “Nightingales”.

This was phased out after the school transferred to King’s College London, with the last badge being issued in 1996.

Dame Eileen Sills, chief nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said she was delighted to see the return of the Nightingale nurse accolade.

“It was wonderful to see so many of our nurses celebrated for the outstanding work they have undertaken in order to receive this prestigious qualification,” she said.

“The Nightingale nurse title is highly valued by our nurses and midwives so we wanted to bring it back and build on Florence Nightingale’s legacy of delivering high-quality care in a caring and compassionate manner,” she said.

“It was great to see so many nurses being recognised for their outstanding work”

Jane Cummings

The awards ceremony also included the unveiling of a plaque and a book, which lists the names of all of the new Nightingale nurses, both of which will be on permanent display in St Thomas’ Hospital.

Professor Cummings said presenting the new awards was a “huge privilege and honour”.

“It was great to see so many nurses being recognised for their outstanding work. They should all feel immensely proud of their achievements,” she said.

International Nurses’ Day celebrations at the trust also included the announcement of winners of the trust’s annual nursing and midwifery awards, and the launch of a “Nightingale Garden” at St Thomas’.

Meanwhile, nearly 300 members of staff and supporters, including nurses and trust directors, abseiled 160 feet down the side of the hospital as part of the St Thomas’ Abseil fundraising challenge.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

Guy’s and Tommy’s marks return of ‘Nightingale nurse’ title

New Nightingale nurse winner Sanjeev Heemraz with Gillian Prager, who is a recipient of the original badge

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