Nurses must learn to lead

This blog was originally published in Nursing Now.  

In this blog Tim Swanwick, Director of Clinical Leadership Development at the NHS Leadership Academy, discusses the support the NHS Leadership Academy can offer to those who have undertaken the Nightingale Challenge.

Nurses can be found at every level and in every sector of our health and care systems. They are the bedrock on which our service is built and can increasingly be found taking on leadership roles of great breadth and complexity. Management responsibility starts early for nurses, and is built into the career development of the profession, but nurses must also need to lean to lead; to develop the insights that will make them effective influencers, to acquire the system knowledge to enable them to work across organisational boundaries and to grow in courage, confidence and belief. Combined with the compassion and inclusivity that are fundamental characteristics of so many in the profession, this is a powerful combination.

The Academy provides a suite of award-winning national programmes, including the online Edward Jenner ‘massive open online course’ (MOOC), our Mary Seacole programme for new team leaders – now available for local delivery – through to our brand new Rosalind Franklin programme explicitly designed for those leading from the middle of organisations. We also offer a number of national positive action programmes to encourage those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds into leadership. Closer to home, our regional teams are always pleased to work with organisations to help develop local offers, provide access to coaching and mentoring and equip colleagues with the tools and resources they need to establish effective programmes of local leadership development.

In the 200th year of Florence Nightingale’s birth, 2020 has been designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Organisation. Sign up today for the Nightingale Challenge and together let’s energise and enable tomorrow’s nursing and midwifery leaders to build a bright new future for our health and care services.

The Nightingale Challenge asks every health employer around the world to provide leadership and development training for a group of their young nurses and midwives during 2020. Sign up here for the Nightingale Challenge.


The NHS Leadership Academy provides leadership development for people of all backgrounds and experiences across health and care. Whether you work in primary care or in an arm’s length body, we can help you on your leadership journey. Find out more here.

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