• evaluation;
  • leadership;
  • midwives;
  • nurses;
  • professional identity


This study reports on an evaluation of an in-house nursing and midwifery leadership programme within a New Zealand District Health Board aimed at improving leadership capacity within clinical environments.


The programme associated with this study is based on Practice Development concepts which aim to improve patient care and service delivery as well as empower practitioners to foster and support a transformational culture.


Mixed methods were used.


Evidence indicated participants' self-confidence improved leading to a ‘growing up’. This was demonstrated in a number of ways: taking more responsibility for individual clinical practice, undertaking quality and safety roles as well as postgraduate study. These findings can be constructed in terms of linking leadership training with the development of professional identity.


This study provides evidence that in-house leadership programmes can provide front-line nurses and midwives with opportunities to enhance their professional identity and expand their skills in a variety of ways.

Implications for nursing management

Organisational investment in in-house programmes aimed at leadership skills have the potential to enhance patient care as well as improve the work environment for nurses and midwives. However, in-house programmes should be considered as augmenting rather than replacing tertiary education institutions' leadership courses and qualifications.