Clinical leadership for high-quality care: developing future ward leaders

Authors

  • JUDITH ENTERKIN RGN, RSCN, PGCAP, MSc, BSc (Hons),

    1. Senior Lecturer, Institute for Strategic Leadership and Service Improvement, London South Bank University, London
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  • ELIZABETH ROBB (Hons D Univ), MA, BA (Hons), RN, RM, ADM, PGCEA,

    1. Chief Executive, The Florence Nightingale Foundation
    2. Visiting Professor in Nursing and Leadership, London South Bank University, London (at the time of the project– Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Executive for North West London Hospitals NHS Trust)
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  • SUSAN MCLAREN RGN, BSc (Hons), PhD

    1. Emeritus Professor of Nursing (Former Director), Faculty of Health and Social Care, Institute for Strategic Leadership and Service Improvement, London South Bank University, London, UK
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Judith Enterkin
Faculty of Health and Social Care
Institute for Strategic Leadership and Service Improvement
London South Bank University
103 Borough Road
London
SE1 0AA
UK
E-mail: enterkij@lsbu.ac.uk

Abstract

Aim  This paper reports upon the development, delivery and evaluation of a leadership programme for aspiring Ward Leaders in one National Health Service Trust in England.

Background  The ward sister role is fundamental to quality patient care and clinical leadership, however the role is increasingly difficult to recruit to. A lack of formal preparation and skills development for the role has been widely acknowledged.

Method  An evaluation of a programme of education for leadership. Three cohorts (n = 60) completed the programme. Semi-structured questionnaires were completed by participants (n = 36: 60%) at the conclusion of the programme. Qualitative data from questionnaires was analysed using a thematic approach.

Results  Participants reported increased political, organizational and self-awareness, increased confidence, feelings of empowerment and the ability to empower others. Opportunities for networking with peers were valued within the action learning approach. For some participants, career intentions were clarified through reflection.

Conclusion  The majority of participants had benefited from the leadership programme and valued this development as an empowering preparation for future careers.

Implications for nursing management  Investment in leadership preparation for future ward sister roles is strongly recommended as part of a strategy designed to enhance quality improvement, career path development, workforce empowerment and retention.

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