We accept the Nightingale Challenge

The theme for International Nurses Day this year is ‘A Voice to Lead’. In keeping with this theme, we are proud to announce the launch of our Nightingale Development Programme for Nurses. Starting in July, the aim of the programme is to develop the leadership, quality improvement and partnership working skills of our nurses, strengthening the nursing profession for now and the future. Owen Ledbetter, our Professional Education Lead, explains more about the programme’s benefits for nurses.

Owen, what is the Nightingale Challenge and why is Nuffield Health launching the programme?

Owen Ledbetter: It’s a global initiative and the mission statement of the Nursing and Midwifery Global Leadership Development Programme is: ‘to carry forward the ambitious mandate of the Nightingale Challenge to work with health employers around the world to create leadership development opportunities for 100,000 nurses and midwives (aged 35 or under) in more than 150 countries by the end of 2022’.

Nuffield Health is a large employer of nurses among our network of hospitals across the UK so we are excited to be launching our own programme. Over the past 18-months, we have identified a cohort of nurses who are showing great commitment to the profession, to patients and their colleagues. We believe these nurses are ready for the next step in their careers. The Nightingale Challenge programme provides a structured learning pathway that facilitates professional and leadership development, aiding the development of these nurses as future leaders within Nuffield Health and the Nursing profession.

Q: Tell us about the application process for the Nightingale Challenge?

The matrons at our 31 hospitals identified high-performing nurses, based on Nuffield Health’s annual appraisal and performance excellence process. The individual nurses were then asked to complete a two-stage application submitted as an individual and with supporting information from their line manager. The application included, how long they have been with the organisation, their career history and development aspirations for the future, service development theories and ideas to challenge the status quo. We then selected the strongest applications and the individuals who are ready for the next step in their career. There were some nurses who submitted very good applications but who were not selected for the programme as they needed a little more experience to make the most of the programme.

Q: How will nurses develop within the Nightingale Challenge programme?

Through the programme, our aim is to help our nurses to reach their potential in the careers, with Nuffield Health and wherever they work in the future – for example, the NHS. It starts in July and lasts for 9 months and there are four pillars to the programme: professional and personal development, clinical leadership, clinical quality, and contemporary Issues within nursing practice. For those of us running the programme, it’s about opening the eyes of individual nurses on the programme about the opportunities available, working with internal and external experts within these four domains of practice that they can engage and build relationships with. There’s also an individual project to complete, this could relate to a broad range of areas including: clinical competencies and capabilities, clinical audit, service development, quality improvement or clinical education. There’s an output that they can demonstrate in their own hospitals and the programme arms them with skills, knowledge, examples and experience to talk about when they are interviewed for that next level.

Q: What support will the nurses in the Nightingale Challenge programme receive?

We see this programme as a big opportunity to showcase Nuffield Health’s passion for training and development. Firstly, the nurses on the programme will benefit from the experience of the Nuffield Health Academy. Through the Academy, we deliver a variety of learning programmes for our clinicians including our Nursing Associate qualification and Nursing Times award-winning Preceptorship programme.

Secondly, our nurses will have an assigned mentor to support them throughout the programme. They will also build relationships with our senior leaders within Nuffield Health and external experts from our friends at the Royal College of Nursing and other nursing stakeholders. We want to achieve a balance of people they know and don’t know, challenging our nurses to think a different way.

Respecting the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the programme is blended between virtual and face-to-face learning. We believe we have found a balance to bring everyone together on occasions - getting bright sparks in a room together will generate exciting organic conversations – and use virtual classes and webinars for distance learning. The line managers of the nurses involved will support by allowing time for studying and supporting learning at the individual hospitals.

New nursing associates from Nuffield Health Leeds Hospital with Jay Morris, Clinical Educator and Learning and Development Specialist (right). Picture taken before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q: What will be the outcomes for the nurses who complete the Nightingale Challenge?

The positive outcome for our nurses is that the programme helps to unleash their potential as clinical leaders, unlocking the possibility to their next career move. This could be a leadership role, a focus on developing quality and improvement; or some nurses may decide to pursue opportunities within clinical governance, specialist practice or learning and development. They will be able to reflect on their programme and showcase their application of the knowledge within their hospital. The programme will equip them for interviews and the next steps in their careers.

For more information about nursing opportunities with Nuffield Health, please visit https://www.nuffieldhealthcareers.com/

Last updated Thursday 13 May 2021

First published on Wednesday 12 May 2021