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Hospitals around globe urged to boost leadership and development training for 20,000 nurses

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Hospitals across the globe have been challenged to provide leadership and development training for 20,000 nurses and midwives next year, as part of efforts to ensure the professions play a major role in shaping healthcare.

The Nightingale Challenge calls on all large healthcare employers to support at least 20 young nurses and midwives to gain leadership skills in 2020 – the year when the profession will be celebrating the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale and the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and Midwife.

The challenge has been devised by the Nursing Now campaign, a collaboration between the WHO and International Council of Nurses overseen by the Burdett Trust for Nursing. It aims to promote investment in nursing and ensure more nurses and midwives are put in senior leadership positions.

The initiative is supported by NHS England and organisations that have already signed up include Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.

“We are thrilled to be one of the first hospitals worldwide to accept the Nightingale Challenge,” said the trust’s chief nurse Dame Eileen Sills.

“It is critical that we invest now in future leaders of nursing and midwifery, and we look forward to contributing to this global challenge,” she said.

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said investing in nursing and midwifery leadership was important when it came to supporting the long-term vision for the future of the health service.

“We are thrilled to be one of the first hospitals worldwide to accept the Nightingale Challenge”

Eileen Sills

“Our National Health Service is pleased to support nurse leaders to share their experiences and best practice with colleagues from across the UK and internationally,” he said.

“At a time when action to ensure we have the talented and committed nurses our patients need is vital for implementation of the NHS Long-Term Plan, the Nightingale Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for the NHS and other health systems around the world to support this critical foundation of our shared future,” he said.

Under the Nightingale Challenge, each employer will be expected to provide leadership and development programmes for at least 20 nurses and midwives aged under 35.

This could be any mix of formal courses, mentoring, shadowing or learning from other professionals or services.

The only requirement is for programmes to include some personal development and the opportunity to learn about leadership and the wider organisation, rather than being purely clinical.

Employers in high and most middle-income countries will be expected to fund the programmes themselves, although Nursing Now will be seeking funding to support programmes in poorer areas.

“It is absolutely fitting that we are launching the Nightingale Challenge on Nursing Now’s first anniversary,” said Barbara Stilwell, chief executive of Nursing Now.

“We want to encourage organisations worldwide to play a bigger role in developing nursing and midwifery,” she said. “By enabling young nurses across the world to fulfill their potential, we will contribute to the impact of nursing.”

“The Nightingale Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for the NHS and other health systems around the world”

Simon Stevens

The Nightingale Challenge will be officially launched in Singapore at the International Council of Nurses’ World Congress in June.

Meanwhile, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, who is a patron of Nursing Now, marked the first anniversary of the global Nursing Now campaign today with a special message.

“I am delighted that, at the end of its first year, Nursing Now has grown internationally, with local and national groups in over 60 countries,” she said.

“Nurses play a vital role in health teams all around the world, and this campaign is doing an important job of raising their status and profile globally,” she added.

The duchess described the dedication and professionalism of nurses as “awe-inspiring”.

“It is wonderful news that the World Health Organization executive board has announced that 2020 will be the Year of the Nurse and Midwife,” she said.

She added: “This is a fitting celebration of the 20 million nurses worldwide and we hope that more young people will be attracted into nursing careers to ensure that the principle that health is for everyone, everywhere, becomes a reality.”

Hospitals that have currently accepted the challenge so far:

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