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.