Author(s): Phillips N, Byrne G
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Abstract AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: To report on a leadership programme for ward managers in one National Health Service Trust that aimed to enhance their contribution to the delivery of the organisation's key objectives to support excellent patient experience. BACKGROUND: Effective ward leadership has been recognised as vital to the quality of care, resource management and interprofessional working. However, there is evidence that, at present, front-line nurse leaders are ill equipped to lead effectively and lack confidence in their ability to do so. DESIGN: The project aimed to provide a tailored programme for ward managers to develop their portfolio of skills to perform this pivotal role. The course contained two key elements: an integrated teaching programme to enhance leadership knowledge and skills and action learning to facilitate application to individual's own leadership practice. Both were underpinned by a change project where each individual identified, undertook and evaluated an innovation in practice. METHODS: Twenty-two ward managers completed the leadership programme. Participants completed semi-structured questionnaires after each taught module. Action learning was evaluated through a combined structured and semi-structured questionnaire. RESULTS: All participants evaluated the programme as increasing their repertoire of leadership skills. Following completion of the programme, ward managers continue to work together as an evolving community of practice. CONCLUSION: Ward managers' development is enhanced by a programme integrating theory, action learning and completion of a ward-based project. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: Ward managers cannot be effectively developed in isolation. Leadership development is best supported where the organisation is also committed to developing. A leadership development programme that incorporates knowledge from within the organisation with external expertise can be an effective method to enhance front-line clinical leadership. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
This article was published in J Clin Nurs
and referenced in Business and Economics Journal