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Trust honours new generation of Florence Nightingales

The first generation of ‘Nightingale Nurses’ in more than 20 years have been celebrated with a new professional award.

Around 80 of the most outstanding nurses at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust were presented with a Nightingale Nurse Award by Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England. The awards were part of a special ceremony held on Friday 11 May as part of the Trust’s International Nurses’ Day celebrations.

Named in honour of pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale, who established her first nursing school at St Thomas’ Hospital in 1859, the award is unique to the Trust.

To receive the award, nurses had to provide evidence from their managers and peers and complete a programme of work accredited by King’s College London. Award holders received a badge and certificate and will have the honour of being known as a ‘Nightingale Nurse’.

In the past nurses who trained at the Nightingale nursing school and worked at St Thomas’ Hospital for over a year received a special blue badge and were known as ‘Nightingales’. This was phased out after the school was transferred to King’s College London with the last badge being issued in 1996.

Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “It was wonderful to see so many of our nurses celebrated for the outstanding work they have undertaken in order to receive this prestigious qualification.

“The Nightingale Nurse title is highly valued by our nurses and midwives so we wanted to bring it back and build on Florence Nightingale’s legacy of delivering high-quality care in a caring and compassionate manner.”

The award ceremony also included the unveiling of a plaque as well as a book which lists the names of all of the new Nightingale Nurses. The plaque and book will be displayed permanently in St Thomas’ Hospital.

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “Presenting the Nightingale Nurse Awards and being able to take part in the Trust’s International Nurses’ Day celebrations was a huge privilege and honour. It was great to see so many nurses being recognised for their outstanding work. They should all feel immensely proud of their achievements.”

As part of the International Nurses’ Day celebrations, a ‘Nightingale Garden’ was unveiled within the gardens at St Thomas’ to commemorate the life of Florence Nightingale, whose birthday is marked by International Nurses’ Day on May 12 each year. Other events to celebrate the day included an interactive dance performance by Breathe Arts called ‘the dance the nurses made’, guided tours of artworks in St Thomas’ Hospital, a treasure hunt, interactive stands and performances from the VIP Singers, a choir formed of people with visual impairments.

Winners of the Trust’s annual Nursing and Midwifery Awards were also announced on the day. The full list of winners is as follows:

  • Posthumous Nightingale Nurse award: Sheila Curran, Discharge Specialist Nurse
  • Student of the Year: Oliwia Monkia Skrocka, Medical Specialities
  • Nursing assistant / community rehabilitation or maternity support worker of the year: Ellie Sangoy and Irene Bufi, Cardiovascular
  • Staff Nurse of the Year: Anna Lees, Acute Medicine
  • Dental Nurse of the Year: Lee Wakefield
  • Sister/ Charge Nurse of the Year: Nicola Green, Acute Medicine
  • Midwife of the Year: Zahra Famili
  • Specialist Nurse of the Year: Kendra Schneller and Serina Aboim, Health Inclusion Team
  • Team of the Year: Health Visiting Service
  • Senior Leadership Award: Lee Patient, Acute Medicine
  • The Nightingale Fellowship award: Cynthia Juma, Dental
  • Dame Eileen Sills Award: Debbie Saunders, Head of Safeguarding Children, Mala Karasu, Head of Safeguarding Adults

The events took place on the same day that nearly 300 members of staff and supporters, including nurses and Trust directors, abseiled 160 feet down the side of St Thomas’ Hospital as part of the St Thomas’ Abseil fundraising challenge.

Dame Sills added: “I’m so proud of all of our nurses and midwives. Day in day out they all strive to provide our patients with the best possible care, so it’s really important to us that we celebrate the amazing work that they do.”

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