12th of May, 2022 was supposed to be the grand finale of the annual national Florence

Nightingale Trophy Speech Contest, but, the historic event that every nursing institution and it students look forward to every year had stopped, Reason Unknown.

As a nursing student, I witnessed this event for the first time in 2017 at the School of Nursing,

Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex Ile-Ife, tagged “Depression, Let’s Talk”.

It was a memorable one as there were students from various nursing institutions across the country, accompanied by tutors and significant orders from their respective institutions.

Going back through the memory lane, in  2019 the event was held at College of Nursing And Midwifery, Igando Lagos where I represented my school and emerged the winner of the speech contest amidst 42 contestants. During that event, I discovered that much more than the contest, it was a platform to Learn, Explore opportunities and Network. Winning the contest opened me up to certain career opportunities and networks. It was also a platform of self discovery as I got to Identify

Some of my potentials which has since that time impacted my life and career and is still doing.

Past winners at the speech contest

As Nursing students those years, the academic calendar was so cumbersome that there was no time for any other engagement outside the academic environment. The only events that

remedied this is the annual speech contest, NISONMG games being the second. Ask a random nursing student today, he/she does not know what Florence Nightingale Trophy Speech Contest is.

After winning the trophy in 2019, the event has been on hold for reasons best known to the organizers which may be valid and genuine reasons. However, I would like to state that it would be rather unfortunate to allow such an event go into extinction in the calendar of Nigeria nursing.

Tobi Adewumi during the last edition

An event that brings students together from various backgrounds and culture, an event that serves as a platform for students to connect, network and build a sense of community

regardless of cultural or tribal differences, an event where nursing leaders have direct

interaction with students and teach them lessons they would never learn in class, an events where students are given the opportunity to demonstrate their academic intelligence through the contest, an event that unlocks innovation and inspire confidence amidst upcoming generation of nurse leaders, an event where talents are discovered, potentials are revealed, and gifts are unveiled, an event where the hope of Nursing is built and polished, such should not be a

“once upon a time” story in the history of nursing profession in Nigeria.

I humbly recommend that concerned stakeholders and the organizers of this event, in cooperation with heads of nursing institutions and significant orders in the profession come together and build strategies and actionable plans to kickstart the event. It is not only for the benefit of the students, but also for the image of the Profession. This is an event capable of attracting the attention and unlocking the generosity of sponsors from various parts of the world, If well planned.

The modalities of conducting the contest, rewards and opportunities made available to the winners and other participants should as well be reviewed.

The theme of this year’s nurses week (2022) States “Invest in Nurses and Respect Right to

Secure Global Health”, one of the biggest platforms to achieve that theme is through the Annual

Florence Nightingale Speech Contest. For a platform that has raised leaders, created lifelong opportunities and promoted the image of the profession, extinction is not an option, rather, later focused attention and time should be invested in expanding that platform to equip more leaders, provide more opportunities and further elevate the image of the profession.

Oluwatobi Adewumin is the winner, Florence Nightingale Trophy Speech Contest, 2019.

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