New generation of Nightingale Nurses to be recognised for excellence

A new generation of Nightingale Nurses will be created at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

A new generation of Nightingale Nurses will be created at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London.

Dame Eileen Sills. Picture: Nathan Clarke

Speaking at a launch event at St Thomas’ Hospital – which included a procession of the Florence Nightingale lamp – chief nurse Dame Eileen Sills said a new professional award would recognise hard-working nurses and the history of the hospital.

Nurses who trained under the guidance of Florence Nightingale at the hospital in the 19th century were known as Nightingale Nurses.

A special Nightingale Nurse badge was introduced in 1923 for all nurses trained at the hospital.

Restoring title

The prestigious nursing school eventually moved out of St Thomas’s to King's College London, and the hospital is now keen to restore the title through a new award.

Open to all nurses and midwives who have worked at the trust for a year, it will entitle them to wear a special badge and benefit from a fully funded learning module that will include the chance to start a master's degree course.

Interested nurses will need to demonstrate they meet the definition of a Next Generation Nightingale, being ‘a dedicated pioneer, innovative with an enquiring mind, who inspires others and goes beyond the call of duty’.

They will also need the support of line managers and peers, who will need to explain what makes them an outstanding nurse.

Award elements

The award comprises three elements:

  • Submission of at least two pieces of patient/practice feedback on initiatives, student feedback or improvements in effective care.
  • Two academic reflections on areas of practice where a nurse has demonstrated excellence, ratified by King's College London.
  • Attendance at Nightingale Academy support sessions for academic supervision and evidence portfolio development.


A nurse can only retain the title of Nightingale Nurse if they work for a further two years at the trust.

Critical care nurse Rebecca Reid will be applying for the award, and commented on the benefits of the chance to study for an MA.

‘For someone who never expected to go to university, getting a degree was a massive deal. So this is so important, it’s one of the ways we get recognised as a profession.’

Challenging times

Dame Eileen told Nursing Standard she hoped the award would give something back to nurses, who face challenging times, not least the affordability of working in London.

The trust also formally launched the Nightingale Academy, in partnership with King's College London and London South Bank University.

It aims to improve practice by freeing up clinician time to advance ideas and use expertise from the university’s many faculties, such as design and engineering, to improve standards.

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