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Keywords:

  • capacity building;
  • evidence-based clinical nursing leadership;
  • executive coaching;
  • group clinical supervision

Aim  The general aims of this article were to facilitate primary care nurses (District Nurse Team Leaders) to link management and leadership theories with clinical practice and to improve the quality of the service provided to their patients. The specific aim was to identify, create and evaluate effective processes for collaborative working so that the nurses’ capacity for clinical decision-making could be improved.

Background  This article, part of a doctoral study on Clinical Leadership in Nursing, has wider application in the workplace of the future where professional standards based on collaboration will be more critical in a world of work that will be increasingly complex and uncertain. This article heralds the type of research and development activities that the nursing and midwifery professions should give premier attention to, particularly given the recent developments within the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. The implications of: Agenda for Change, the Knowledge and Skills Framework, ‘Our Health, Our Care, Our Say’ and the recent proposals from the article Modernising Nursing Career, to name but a few, are the key influences impacting on and demanding new ways of clinical supervision for nurses and midwives to improve the quality of patient management and services.

Method  The overall approach was based on an action research using a collaborative enquiry within a case study. This was facilitated by a process of executive co-coaching for focused group clinical supervision sessions involving six district nurses as co-researchers and two professional doctoral candidates as the main researchers. The enquiry conducted over a period of two and a half years used evidence-based management and leadership interventions to assist the participants to develop ‘actionable knowledge’. Group clinical supervision was not practised in this study as a form of ‘therapy’ but as a focus for the development of actionable knowledge, knowledge needed for effective clinical management and leadership in the workplace.

Findings 

  • • 
    Management and leadership interventions and approaches have significantly influenced the participants’ capacity to improve the quality of services provided to their patients.
  • • 
    Using various techniques, tools, methods and frameworks presented at the sessions increased participants’ confidence to perform.
  • • 
    A structured approach like the Clinical Nursing Leadership Learning and Action Process (CLINLAP) model makes implementing change more practical and manageable within a turbulent care environment. The process of Stakeholder Mapping and Management made getting agreement to do things differently much easier.

Generally it is clear that many nurses and midwives, according to the participants, have to carry out management and leadership activities in their day-to-day practice. The traditional boundary between the private, the public and the voluntary sector management is increasingly becoming blurred.

Conclusion  It is conclusive that the district nurses on this innovative programme demonstrated how they were making sense of patterns from the past, planning for the future and facilitating the clinical nursing leadership processes today to improve quality patient services tomorrow. Their improved capacity to manage change and lead people was demonstrated, for example, through their questioning attitudes about the dominance of general practitioners. They did this, for example, by initiating and leading case conferences with the multi-disciplinary teams. It became evident from this study that to use group clinical supervision with an executive co-coaching approach for the implementation and to sustain quality service demand that ‘good nursing’ is accepted as being synonymous with ‘good management’. This is the future of ‘new nursing’.