Latest newsletter for nurses and nursing associates

Published on 03 November 2021

Hear more about two of the most exciting projects of the Florence Nightingale Foundation.

Our latest nursing newsletter features Greta Westwood, Chief Executive Officer at the Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) and registered nurse since 1983.

Greta spoke to us about why it's so important for nurses to develop their leadership skills and how the FNF Leadership Academy is helping professionals to do this.

I didn’t study hard at school and left without A-levels to work in a supermarket. But my mother persuaded me to live my dream - to be a nurse. I put a nurse’s uniform on in 1978 and haven’t looked back since! I now have an MSc and PhD. I had an amazing 39 year NHS nursing career before leaving for my first FNF role in 2017. I’ve been the CEO since September 2019 and this year, was awarded a CBE for Services to Nursing and Midwifery. What a career, so proud!

Following in Florence Nightingale’s footsteps

Florence Nightingale is undoubtedly the world’s most famous nurse. Her influence and legacy are still relevant today. For example, every nurse and midwife practiced her infection, prevention and control measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After Florence’s death, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) suggested the Florence Nightingale Foundation (FNF) as a living memorial. The FNF was established in the UK in 1934 and has been offering scholarships to nurses and midwives ever since.

We’ve set up a number of programmes to help nurses and midwives excel in their careers. For example, 2018 marked the NHS’s 70th anniversary. To celebrate, we developed the NHS 70 leadership programme, to help London-based nurses and midwives build their careers. It also marked the arrival of those who came from the Caribbean to help build the NHS, we created the Windrush leadership programme for 70 early career nurses and midwives from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Since 2018, over 300 nurses and midwives have completed these early career programmes every year. They also formed the blueprint for future programmes.

The Florence Nightingale Foundation Academy

In January 2020, during the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, our foundation launched the FNF Academy. It aims to better the leadership, research and policy skills of health and care professionals.

We help professionals to consult, inform, drive and improve services through their knowledge and leadership skills. We work on critical nursing and midwifery issues and increase the influence of our professionals’ voices.

The three pillars

Our academy has three pillars. The first pillar is developing leaders. We challenge professionals to think differently about health and care leadership. We use personalised programmes to build their confidence, knowledge and leadership skills. This helps professionals to become agents of change, influence health and care policy and improve care for those who use nursing and midwifery services.

We also utilise evidence. This is such an important part of nursing and midwifery care. It’s how our professions continue to learn and move forward. For example, we research the impact certain roles and experiences have on nurses and midwives. And we use these findings to influence change. We also support professionals to spread their knowledge through different media channels, including peer review publications.

Lastly, we influence change. We work with members of our alumni network and use their expertise to form a strong nursing and midwifery voice. This increases the contributions professionals make to decisions about care, the experiences of those who use services, and local, regional and national health policies.

FNF Academy Membership

In September, we opened our academy membership to Chief Nurses or the most senior nurses and midwives within health and care organisations, We offer personal support, networking, policy engagement and influencing opportunities. As I write this article, 55 chief nurses have joined our programme, spreading its benefits to over 150,000 nurses and midwives around the UK!

Nightingale Frontline

But even leaders need support sometimes. That’s why we created the Nightingale
Frontline Leadership Support Service. We developed it to help professionals lead during the pandemic crisis. It offers nurses and midwives at all levels, the chance to come together and reflect on leadership challenges within safe and confidential spaces.

We use a model called co-consulting. Small groups work with one of our trained specialists to develop vital leadership skills, to support themselves and their colleagues.

Since we launched the service, we’ve supported over 2000 nurses and midwives across the UK! The sessions are still in high demand. Attendees enjoy working through leadership challenges with their peers and learn how to overcome difficult situations in new ways within a calm environment. Especially during this time of constant change.

It came just at the right time

Claire Pendlebury is Lead Nurse at the Teenage Cancer Trust. She said, “The impact the session had was primarily on my motivation and energy; it came at just the right time to give me a boost and was like an injection of realistic inspiration.

The session was incredibly useful; to listen to the challenges that colleagues across the country are facing. The small size of the group was especially appealing to me and I felt that I was able to contribute effectively. The group was very balanced and supportive and the facilitator was reassuringly experienced and sensitive to the people in the group, skilfully drawing out the primary issues and supporting solutions.”

What else can I expect when I read this nursing newsletter?

You’ll also find an article by recently qualified nurse, Joy O’Gorman, on the importance of preceptorship and how it has helped her to settle into her new role. There’s also information on the next steps following our post-registration consultation, our standards for student supervision and assessment, the Royal College of Nursing awards and more.

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