2020 is the year of the nurse and the midwife, a year to focus on the important, yet often invisible influence nurses and midwives have across the NHS, Care Sector, Third Sector and Independent Sector with every patient contact, every shift, every day. 

The World Health Organisation has created this focus for 2020 as 9 million more nurses & midwives are needed - a global effort to highlight the acute shortage of these crucial professionals is crucial if #HealthForAll is to be achieved.

There will be many ways to get involved, either by taking part in the regional and national events, your own organisations initiatives or by joining in with the things that give you joy - you can find many of these by following #YearOfTheNurseAndMidwife

One of the initiatives that I am delighted to support is Nurse Bloggers series of 30 Day Challenges. Each month has a focus for us to be brave and share our personal vision; our hopes for the future of the profession, starting with January: How will I shape the Year:

I thought for my blog I would share my top tips for the year, building on the most successful blogs from 2019:

1. Leadership: We are all leaders, regardless of our job title, our band or our length of experience. Helen Bevan shared this nugget of an article recently which gives us all hope:

In June this year we will be launching the 2020 School for Change Agents, which is a free and virtual leadership opportunity for all - sign up today and gear up for The Nightingale Challenge

2. Valuing Difference: This year, along with my colleagues in Horizons, we will continue to build on thinking about how we ensure that our activities are accessible and inclusive for all. Last October Ruth May our Chief Nursing Officer for England asked us to be proud of our differences:

3. Find Your Allies: Working with colleagues who have the same passion, vision and ambition gives you a shared purpose, which gives you the agency (power) to make a difference. Working with the emerging army of Midwifery Ambassadors this year will create a difference across the following key areas:

4. Role Modelling: No matter where you are working, what you are doing or who you are speaking with, everyone can be positive role model. I can recall when we were crowdsourcing for ideas to build positive perceptions of nursing and midwifery two years ago, a school girl posted to say that she was motivated in her decision to become a nurse by the behaviour she had observed by those caring for and treating her mother with long term conditions. 

5. Just Do It: Sometime we can keep putting things off for a better time or when other things become less important. How often have you thought that but in reality there often isn't a better time, or there isn't always something more important to do. This year just do it! Reinstating my Registered Nurse PIN was a satisfying moment for me: I had let it lapse because whilst still working in the NHS I was no longer in a clinical role. If you know someone who is thinking about it then be their mentor and encourage them to complete the return to practice course: It may be tough but it's worth it.

6. Give a Talk to Young People: This year I am excited to be working with seven local sites across England to identify the strengths and challenges for young people in areas that don't initially see nursing or midwifery as careers of choice. The #WelcomeYP challenge will see ambassadors going into local schools as we plug into the future. Get involved and make a difference!

7. Be Passionate: Pick something that really interests you and give it your support. You don't have to be an expert in that field but you do need to want to find out more. My passion is to support #LearningDisabilityNursing - these are an amazing group of individuals who have skills and strengths that are special and different. We need to value this branch of our profession.  

8. Inspire Our Children: We often think that we can influence people's career choices when they are at an age to understand and make informed decisions but the reality is that more subtle opportunities happen at a much younger age. The mini uniform campaign led by our CNO Ruth May is a great example of how it starts with a dressing up box. This year we will see the launch of My Daddy Is A Nurse, another opportunity for us as adults to dispel some of the myths and misunderstandings early.

9. Offer to Be A Mentor: Mentoring is such a privileged opportunity, and being reversed mentored is one of the most rewarding experiences. Here are our ten top tips for mentoring and reverse mentoring.

10. Tell Your Story by Writing a Blog (or two): My colleague Leigh Kendall wrote this fabulous blog to help nurses and midwives to get started with blogging - it's fab! #JustDoIt