Leadership for learning: a literature study of leadership for learning in clinical practice

Authors

  • HELEN T. ALLAN PhD RN,

    1. Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Research in Nursing and Midwifery Education (CRNME), European Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey
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  • PAMELA A. SMITH PhD RN,

    1. Professor of Nurse Education, Director, Centre for Research in Nursing and Midwifery Education, European Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey
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  • MARIA LORENTZON PhD

    1. Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Research in Nursing and Midwifery Education, European Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Surrey, UK
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Helen T. Allan Centre for Research in Nursing and Midwifery Education (CRNME) European Institute of Health and Medical Sciences University of Surrey Duke of Kent Building Stag Hill, Guildford Surrey GU2 5TE UK E-mail: h.allan@surrey.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim  To report a literature study of leadership for learning in clinical practice in the United Kingdom.

Background  Previous research in the United Kingdom showed that the ward sister was central to creating a positive learning environment for student nurses. Since the 1990s, the ward mentor has emerged as the key to student nurses’ learning in the United Kingdom.

Methods  A literature study of new leadership roles and their influence on student nurse learning (restricted to the United Kingdom) which includes an analysis of ten qualitative interviews with stakeholders in higher education in the United Kingdom undertaken as part of the literature study.

Results  Learning in clinical placements is led by practice teaching roles such as mentors, clinical practice facilitators and practice educators rather than new leadership roles. However, workforce changes in clinical placements has restricted the opportunities for trained nurses to role model caring activities for student nurses and university based lecturers are increasingly distant from clinical practice.

Conclusions and implications for practice  Leadership for learning in clinical practice poses three unresolved questions for nurse managers, practitioners and educators – what is nursing, what should student nurses learn and from whom?

Implications for nursing management  Leadership for student nurse learning has passed to new learning and teaching roles with Trusts and away from nursing managers. This has implications for workforce planning and role modelling within the profession.

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