I am a nurse who has always believed that leadership is important. I also know that as an individual I perform better if I have time to reflect, take on board feedback; that thinking space helps me to understand where I want to go, how I might get there, about my passions and to better understand what my unique contribution to nursing and the NHS might be.
My leadership journey started many years ago where I was privileged to be one of the nurses in the early 2000’s who was a Kings Fund/ Johnson & Johnson leadership programme graduate. The whole experience was almost life changing for me and looking back made a significant difference to who I am.
But that was 10 years ago. Since then I have new challenges in my life. I find myself in my middle years, with a gorgeous grown up son, a still happy marriage and facing perhaps the last decade of my working life. I have a long-term condition and I have found a new passion linked to this about new ways to hear the patient’s voice in the complex system that is healthcare. Work over the last year has been complex and challenging but also fantastically rewarding and the rise of social media has given me a new zest for exploring new ways of doing things. Nevertheless, I felt it was time for renewal and a new focussed challenge to again push myself into a new space – I would like to leave my career on a high, having continued to participate in the development of nursing right through to my retirement – a tall order!
The Florence Nightingale Foundation was where I found the next step and this blog is about my first year as a Foundation Scholar. This first blog sets the scene.
The Florence Nightingale Foundation supports nurses and midwives with scholarships, mentoring and perhaps, most importantly, to give them some recognition they so richly deserve. The leadership scholarships enable study at home and abroad, giving an opportunity to promote innovation in practice, in addition to extending knowledge and skills to enable nurses and midwives to meet changing needs and improve patient care. At the heart of the Foundation is the continuation of the work of Florence Nightingale who began equipping senior nurses and midwives with the confidence to represent their profession at the very top levels of our health system.
More about the Foundation can be found here:
I applied to be a scholar in 2012, with an application that focussed on how nurses might us social media to help provide better care for patients. Leadership scholars are blessed with the funds to deliver a project but also, and this is where it gets very special, a bursary to design a personal leadership programme.
I have decided to focus on social media for my project – I see emerging digital spaces as providing new opportunities for patients and nurses. I am interested in exploring the skills that nurses, midwives and health visitors might need to practice in a digital space. The scholarship and support from my employer gives me the space to start to do this. I aspire to write materials that can be used in the professions that might help us all on this new journey. Aiming high is good!
My journey has already started. The 2013 scholars have met and we come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Sharing and meeting other leaders is a key part of the process, giving new networks and new connections that help develop thinking as well as friendships. The Foundation promotes the sense of alumni and already I can feel my network widening.
So my new challenge has begun and I want to use this blog as a reflective diary on my journey as a Florence Nightingale Foundation Scholar.
I feel that I have been given a fantastic opportunity and I really want to do the best I can to make the most of it!