Five Questions With…Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt
To mark the International Days of the Midwife and of the Nurse, we hear from Professor Lisa Bayliss-Prat about what inspired her career in nursing, what the Nursing Now Challenge is working to achieve, and why the voices or nurses and midwives must be heard.
1. Can you tell us about your journey into healthcare – why did you decide to become a nurse?
My interest in nursing started when I was a child. My beloved auntie was a children’s nurse and when she came to visit, she always spoke so passionately about her work at the local hospital and how much she enjoyed looking after the children and their families on the ward. Looking back, I am sure her stories sowed the seeds for my career in nursing. As a teenager, I enjoyed helping the elderly in the community. These experiences paved my way to nurse training.
2. What change is the Nursing Now Challenge working to achieve?
The Nursing Now Challenge is working to raise the profile and build the power and potential of student and early-career nurses and midwives on a global scale. The Nursing Now Challenge network offers a unique space for student and early-career nurses and midwives to connect, share experiences and grow together. It has become a key feature and valuable support system in the lives of thousands of early-career nurses and midwives globally, representing a vibrant, diverse, challenge-led community where student and early-career nurses and midwives are inspired and motivated.
Our scope is clear, investing in early-career nurses and midwives is essential for improving health and healthcare globally and as a result, the Nursing Now Challenge remains committed to providing employers, universities and colleges the opportunity to benefit from the shared experience and learning of a global network in order to ensure the implementation of leadership development programmes to support student and early-career nurses and midwives as leaders, and advocates in health. Furthermore, the Nursing Now Challenge provides a dynamic network of opportunities and showcases nursing and midwifery as exciting and rewarding careers in order to contribute to recruitment and retention on a global scale.
3. In your view, what can nurses and midwives across the world gain by learning from each other’s experiences and expertise?
There is so much to be gained from connecting with others, learning, and sharing the burden of the challenges we face. The Nursing Now Challenge has created a vibrant community of early-career nurses and midwives who come together to share best practices, learn from one another, and most importantly champion one another. In today’s world, we are more connected than ever with the possibility of powerful knowledge exchange at our fingertips. Engaging with peers around the world is an enriching experience both personally and professionally.
We know that retaining our workforce is just as important as recruiting the right people with the right values. I believe that our growing network provides the potential to help keep our incredibly valuable students, nurses and midwives learning and practicing, a key cornerstone in delivering UHC to all.
4. This month we celebrate the International Days of the Midwife and of the Nurse. From your perspective, how do these events contribute to the global movement to empower nurses and midwives as leaders, practitioners and advocates?
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a light has been shone on the work of nurses and midwives like never before. It is vital that we harness and drive this momentum through events like these. These events allow us to challenge perceptions about nurses and midwives and their scope of work and provide a much-needed opportunity to celebrate the contribution that nurses and midwives make to health and healthcare globally. We must continue to celebrate the nursing and midwifery professions and demonstrate the far-reaching impact of their work.
5. How do healthcare systems benefit when the voices of nurses and midwives are heard?
Nurses and midwives have invaluable insight and experience that can greatly improve health and healthcare systems around the world. It is vital that the voices of nurses and midwives are heard at every decision-making table. Their experience and proximity to the communities they serve mean that nurses and midwives hold powerful insight to improve healthcare delivery. Nurses and midwives are often the first, and in many cases, the only healthcare professionals that many people in local communities can access. We know that they are highly trusted and play a major role in public health and prevention.
It’s vital that we inspire more nurses and midwives to use their voices to lead, without them, we simply will not achieve universal health coverage, the Sustainable Development Goals, or global health security.