Nursing Now’s Nightingale Challenge: Supporting the change agents of today & tomorrow

Section: Editorial

How to quote

Bayliss-Pratt L. Nursing Now’s Nightingale Challenge: Supporting the change agents of today & tomorrow. Metas Enferm oct 2020; 23(8):3-6. Doi:


Lisa Bayliss-Pratt


Vicerrectora. Universidad de Coventry. Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud y la Vida.

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The Nursing Now campaign, launched in 2018, aims to improve health globally by raising the profile and status of nurses around the world. The campaign focuses on five core areas, with the aim of supporting nurses to lead, learn and build a global movement to promote positive change for the profession and support the improvement and accessibility of quality healthcare for all.

Nursing Now’s objectives
1.    Amplify the voice of nurses and ensure that they are heard in health policymaking;
2.    Encourage greater investment in the nursing workforce;
3.    Advocate for more nurses in leadership positions;
4.    Encourage research that helps determine where nurses can have the greatest impact, and
5.    Share examples of best nursing practice.

The State of the World’s Nursing report found that there is a global shortage of 5.9 million nurses (1). It is only by investing in the training, and retention of nurses and midwives today, that we can ensure access to quality healthcare for everyone, everywhere tomorrow. Investing in nursing and midwifery does not only bring improvements in global health, but it also supports gender equality and economic growth.

In 2019, Nursing Now created the Nightingale Challenge, an initiative to encourage greater investment from health employers to support the leadership development of their early-career nurses and midwives. By providing leadership training, Nightingale Challenge programmes equip nurses and midwives around the world to be change agents and play an active role in the transformation of these professions, and the way they are publicly perceived.

Since the launch of this initiative, employers have been encouraged to join and demonstrate their commitment, not only to the career development of their employees, but to the improvement of global health. By mid-2020 the number of organisations enrolled in the Nightingale Challenge and implementing leadership development programmes had exceeded expectations with 30,215 nurses and midwives from 780 employers in 78 countries participating in Nightingale Challenge programmes.

There are many benefits to participating in the Nightingale Challenge, including the improved recruitment, retention and capability of staff, as well as access to a supportive community for networking, collaboration and partnering to share ideas and learning (2).

Expert-led webinars are regularly held, giving participating organisations and staff the opportunity to understand more about topical issues, and learn from the experiences of other organisations participating in the Nightingale Challenge. Furthermore, the recently launched Nightingale Challenge Global Solutions Initiative offers an online platform for young nurses and midwives around the world to connect and share ideas with the aim of developing nurse and midwife-led innovations to resolve global health issues (3).

During this first year of the Nightingale Challenge, participating organisations have shown their commitment to the initiative, and in spite of the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, they have developed and implemented a wealth of activities. From localised employer leadership programmes, consisting of early-career nurses and midwives shadowing senior colleagues, to study days, conferences, and international webinars on leadership development, as well as nurse-led development projects in the community, and mentoring and fellowship opportunities, employers and employees alike have truly invested in and committed to the Nightingale Challenge.
Supporting early-career nurses and midwives to become the leaders of tomorrow is at the core of the Nightingale Challenge (4). This global initiative represents a once in a generation opportunity to engage and invest in the future of the nursing and midwifery professions and enable nurses and midwives everywhere to innovate and lead in responding to the global health challenges of today and tomorrow.


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). State of the world’s nursing 2020: investing in education, jobs and leadership [intenter]. WHO; Geneva: 2020 [cited 8 sep 2020]. Available from:
  2. Vision [internet]. Nursing Now. 2020 [cited 8 sep 2020]. Available from:
  3.  News [internet]. Nursing Now. 2020 [cited 8 sep 2020]. Available from:
  4. Bayliss-Pratt L, Daley M, Bhattacharya-Craven A. Nursing Now 2020: The Nightingale Challenge. Int Nurs Rev 2020; 67:7-10. Doi: