New leadership project will see nurses ‘soar to greater heights’

Launched at the International Council of Nurses (ICN) congress in Singapore, the Nightingale Challenge aims to bring together health employers to inspire the next generation of nurses and midwives as leaders in health and promote investment in nursing.

“We hear, time and again, that nurses are being held back as leaders”

Annette Kennedy

President of the ICN, Annette Kennedy, said: “It is essential that nurses are enabled to play a bigger role in multi-disciplinary teams, working to their full potential to innovate, to lead and to advocate.

“We hear, time and again, that nurses are being held back as leaders,” she said. “We need to seize the opportunity that 2020 gives us to shape a different future for our profession by investing in the next generation.

“By accepting the Nightingale Challenge, we give them new skills, experiences and confidence – together we will take down the barriers that hold nurses back and see our profession soar to greater heights,” she added.

As previously reported by Nursing Times, the challenge has been devised by the Nursing Now campaign, a collaboration between the World Health Organisation and the ICN overseen by the Burdett Trust for Nursing.

It calls on all large healthcare employers to accept the challenge with the aim of having at least 20,000 nurses and midwives aged 35 and under benefitting from this next year, with at least 1,000 employers due to take part.

The ICN noted that each employer can determine how best to respond to the challenge, but the programme must give nurses and midwives the opportunity for personal development, to learn about leadership and the wider organisation, and not be purely clinical.

For example, programmes could include any mix of a formal course, mentoring, shadowing or learning from other professionals or sectors, the ICN said.

The initiative will start next year to coincide with the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and Midwife and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

“Governments, employers and health leaders must make investing in nursing and midwifery their number one goal for 2020”

Sheila Tlou

Lord Nigel Crisp, co-chair of the Nursing Now campaign, said: “The Nightingale Challenge is an opportunity for all participating organisations to be part of a great global movement to develop nursing and midwifery.

“By accepting the Nightingale Challenge, you are demonstrating your commitment to investing and championing nursing and midwifery at a time when the two professions will be enjoying global attention through the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife,” he added.

Sheila Tlou, another co-chair at Nursing Now, described the challenge as an “integral part” of the campaign’s aim to improve health globally by raising the profile and status of nurses.

“If we are serious about achieving rapid and high-quality health for all, governments, employers and health leaders must make investing in nursing and midwifery their number one goal for 2020,” she said.

As reported earlier this month, Health Education England’s chief nurse, Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, has been appointed at Nursing Now, to help spearhead the challenge.