May 13, 2020, by Richard Bates
The Florence Nightingale Foundation’s “Nightingale Frontline” Scheme
This guest post comes from Dr Gemma Stacey, Director of Academy, Florence Nightingale Foundation. For more information on Nightingale Frontline please visit https://florence-nightingale-foundation.org.uk/nightingale-frontline-nhs-leadership-support-service/
The Florence Nightingale Foundation was created to continue Florence’s legacy by providing leadership development for nurses and midwives. We have achieved this for many years by providing scholarships which enable nurses and midwives to develop their presence, impact and influence. The scholarships are extremely competitive and many of our current high profile nursing and midwifery leaders wear their Florence Nightingale Foundation Alumni pin with pride.
In the wake of the Covid–19 pandemic we knew that support for our leaders at all levels of the organisation would be essential to their wellbeing and their professional development. As a result, we refocused all our resource and activity on providing a remote leadership support service which we named “Nightingale Frontline”. The service offers nurses and midwives, from newly registered to senior executive level, the opportunity to share, reflect and problem solve some of the conflicts and dilemmas they have encountered. The groups of six are facilitated by our leadership development consultants and alumni. The group is guided through a structured process known as co-consulting which combines peer coaching with action learning.
Each week the facilitators meet to debrief on their experience of delivering the service. This enables us to understand and reflect upon the key themes that are emerging in relation to the challenges Covid–19 has posed. By providing the service to all levels of nurses and midwives, we are in the privileged position of gaining a holistic insight into the issues. For example, we have heard about the implications of a perceived requirement to return to a “command and control” approach to leadership. We have supported leaders to think about how they will retain and build upon the skills, expertise and professional presence they have developed in this challenging time. We have also shared stories of sadness and grief for lives lost.
We will continue to provide this service. We recognise that the leadership support needs of midwives and nurses are central to how we emerge as a profession from the Covid–19 response. The role of the nurse and midwife has always entailed skill, intellect, clinical judgment and critical thinking. What has changed is how other professions and the public now recognise and value this unique contribution. We are committed, at the Florence Nightingale Foundation, to continuing Nightingale’s legacy by enabling nurses to have the presence, impact and influence Florence would be proud of. This is a point in the history of our profession that we must take advantage of and follow in Nightingale’s footsteps to showcase and advocate for the modern identity of nursing and midwifery.