Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust this week celebrated the launch of its Nightingale Nurse Award, a new professional award designed to recognise its most outstanding nurses.
Named in honour of the pioneering nurse, who established her first nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1859, the award is unique to the trust.
A launch event attended by over 200 nurses was held at St Thomas’ on 13 September. It included a procession of the Florence Nightingale lamp, on loan from the nearby Florence Nightingale Museum.
The creation of the new award was first announced in May, to coincide with International Nurses’ Day, as reported by Nursing Times.
A spokesman for the trust explained that attaining the award would give staff the honour of being known as a “Nightingale nurse”.
To qualify for the chance of gaining the title, a nurse or midwife would be put forward by colleagues or can nominate themselves for the award, he said.
“There are no specific criteria, we are just generally looking to recognise our best and brightest nurses and midwives,” said the spokesman.
He told Nursing Times that each submission would be judged on its merits, and be reviewed by a panel of the trust’s most senior nurses.
“To be able to recognise our most outstanding nurses and midwives with the Nightingale Nurse Award is incredibly important”
Nurses successfully chosen for the award programme would then undertake a work-based learning module, which is unique to the trust and provided by King’s College London.
It will be fully funded at either level 6 or 7, and will also give staff the opportunity to start a master’s degree programme.
On completion of the module, staff will become Nightingale nurses, with the trust expecting the first graduating class to finish in May 2018.
The spokesman added that the curriculum would be new and was still being finalised. It would build on the trusts’ existing efforts to improve the “consistency of care provided across inpatient areas through the standardisation of some aspects of the shift”, he said.
Nursing Times asked the trust how many of its staff it expected to gain the new title and whether it was ultimately aiming for all of its nurses to take part.
“At this moment, we have no limit on how many nurses will be offered a place on the programme, and will take a decision when all submissions are in later this autumn. We hope to enrol as many nurses and midwives as we can,” said the spokesman.
The new award is part of the trust’s Nightingale Academy, which was launched in 2016 to provide a platform for innovation, practice and service development in clinical nursing and midwifery.
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It also forms part of the trust’s current nursing and midwifery strategy, which sets an ambitious target to have a waiting list of nurses and midwives who want to work at the trust by 2020.
Trust chief nurse Dame Eileen Sills said: “I am so proud of our nurses and midwives here at Guy’s and St Thomas’. They do fantastic work day in, day out, and always put our patients first.
“To be able to recognise our most outstanding nurses and midwives with the Nightingale Nurse Award is incredibly important, and helps us build on our reputation as one of the best places to work as a nurse or midwife,” she said.
Fiona Hibberts, consultant nurse and lead for the trust’s Nightingale Academy, said: “Our launch events this week, mark the beginning of a new page in our history.
“As part of our hospitals’ rich heritage, and as the site of Florence Nightingale’s first nursing school, we want to build on her legacy of providing evidence based, skilled care, delivered in a caring and compassionate manner,” she added.