This blog was written by Beatrice Amuge, Nightingale Challenge Programme Lead, Mulago Hospital, Uganda
There are 57 nurses and 10 midwives enrolled in our Nightingale Challenge programme at Mulago hospital, Kampala, Uganda. Over the course of the last year, we have provided training in leadership and research. Some of our cohort are currently undergoing basic training in management skills, while others are working on diploma and degree training, selected and sponsored by the institution as part of the Nightingale Challenge.
Since the launch of our programme, we have developed a mentorship programme to support our nurses and midwives. We have found this to be a valuable experience for us all. We have paired Nightingale Challenge participants with inspirational leaders working on our wards.
We believe that the Nightingale Challenge is a very important initiative. It enhances the young nurses’ and midwives’ knowledge and leadership skills. It provides our young nurses and midwives with the confidence they need to influence decision-makers. Our first cohort are now equipped to lobby and advocate for nurses and nursing services at hospital level as well as at government level.
The Nightingale Challenge as an initiative is inspiring. We know that thousands of other nurses and midwives, and hundreds of employers around the world are united in this effort to support early-career nurses and midwives and provide them with leadership training and opportunities, with the ultimate aim of improving health care for all. Our nurses want to do the best they can, and help make positive changes for our profession and their patients.
Our first cohort are now equipped to lobby and advocate for nurses and nursing services at hospital level as well as at government level, but it is not only the young nurses and midwives who have benefitted. I have learnt a great deal from this experience of creating our Nightingale Challenge programme. I have developed my own skills in terms of how to negotiate and develop a capacity building programme to improve the status and profile of nurses. I am more confident in working with, and influencing other leaders.
I sincerely hope that the Nightingale Challenge has sparked a change within our profession that will see early-career nurses and midwives supported from the beginning of their careers to strive for leadership roles. This must not only be an initiative that we support during the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife but sustained for future generations.