The Gift of Scholarship

This December we have had the privilege of sharing a number of inspiring blogs from nurses and midwives.

In our #ebnjc blog series we have already celebrated children’s nursing; with blogs from Jayne Pentin, Kirsten Huby & Marcus Wootton, learning disability nursing; with blogs from Professor Ruth Northway, Jonathan Beebee & Amy Wixey, midwifery; with blogs from Louise Silverton CBE , Gina Novick & Lynsey Wilgaus and adult nursing from Clare McVeigh, Professor Roger Watson and Professor Jan Dewing.  

Today we are delighted to bring you a special Christmas Day message by Professor Elizabeth Robb from the Florence Nightingale Foundation.


The gift of scholarship

I am reminded as I sit down to write this blog of the many Christmases I worked as a nurse and a midwife over the years. Special times and yet difficult times too. Feeling, perhaps like the many of you who are working today, privileged to do the job I love and give of myself by being with and supporting others at critical times in their lives and yet aware too, of being away from my own friends and family. Now Chief Executive of the Florence Nightingale Foundation I am on duty in a rather different way this Christmas.

The Florence Nightingale Foundation was set up as a living memorial to Florence Nightingale, to advance the study of nursing and promote excellence in nursing, midwifery and health visiting practice. We do this by raising funds to provide scholarships for nurses, midwives and health visitors to study in the United Kingdom and abroad so that they may promote innovation in practice and extend knowledge and skills to meet changing needs. We also promote the special contribution of nurses and midwives to society and to the health of people and to encourage international understanding and learning for the benefit of patients.

Not only was Florence Nightingale arguably nursing’s first scientist, Florence Nightingale was an avid letter writer, even on Christmas Day and so a blog like this is for the journal Evidence Based Nursing very much in keeping with her tradition. Her Christmas letters to key nursing figures of her time include much sage advice and might also be accompanied with a gift such as a textbook (McDonald, 2009).  In this blog I will attempt a slightly lighter hearted but I hope no less meaningful approach.

Our goal as a foundation through our scholarships is to provide opportunities for individual nurses and midwives, and the nursing and midwifery professions more broadly, to realise their potential for the benefit of patients and ultimately society. In this way I believe our scholarships are a precious and priceless gift.

Being awarded a Florence Nightingale Foundation scholarship is a sign of belief in you as a professional. Scholars frequently tell us how transformational their scholarship has been for them and their practice. Following their scholarship our scholars are able to join our Alumni and to continue build on our initial investment in them for the benefit of their patients and their careers. Indeed – to paraphrase another successful charity advertising campaign – a scholarship is for life not just for Christmas. Give yourself the gift of scholarship.

However and wherever you are spending Christmas Day this year I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


McDonald, L (Ed) (2009) Florence Nightingale: Extending Nursing Collected Works of Florence Nightingale, Volume 13. Collected Works of Florence Nightingale Series, Ontario, Wilfrid Laurier University Press.


Why not check out EBN’s Research Made Simple Series?

Research Made Simple: Reviewing the literature
Research Made Simple: Bias in research


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