Young Hawke’s Bay nurses and midwives future leaders in health

A group of Hawke’s Bay nurses and midwives who completed an international leadership programme prior to the country going into Level 4 lockdown have already put their new skills to use. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife introducing a new global initiative, The Nightingale Challenge, encouraging employers worldwide to join together to help develop the next generation of future leaders in health. 

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) acting chief nursing and midwifery officer, Karyn Bousfield, said every employer worldwide was asked to accept the challenge to upskill young nurses and midwives aged 35 years or younger into leadership and development programmes. 

Leadership development is well recognised as an essential component of safe and effective care, improved staff satisfaction, succession planning and staff retention. 

“Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Chris Mckenna had already signed the DHB up to an internationally accredited professional development programme called Leading an Empowered Organization (LEO) facilitated by UK Professor Dickon Weir-Hughes and we felt this would be the perfect fit for the Nightingale Challenge. 

“We had 20 nurses and midwives participating from across the Hawke’s Bay health sector based in hospital, public health and community settings and we were very fortunate to complete the training by mid-February,” said Ms Bousfield. 

“The course was largely practical offering lessons in empowerment and adapting to changing needs in our health care system – which has certainly come into use as we have quickly adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic and our emergency response.” 

Even more exciting, she said, was the unfolding of amazing leadership potential. 

“The group graduated on 14 February and their skills have well and truly already been put to good use,” she said. 

“Through participating in this course, we have uncovered some wonderful future leaders who are empowered to back themselves, build relationships and problem solve,” she said. 

Feedback from one participant said: “This training has been exceptional and supportive to younger nurses. It has helped me to build an open mind to the challenges we face and impact on health outcomes. It has also helped me build confidence and to appreciate differences." 

International Nurse Day, 12 May marks the anniversary of Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale’s birthday and a chance for the public to recognise the important work nurses do.

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