Effective leadership in nursing is linked to reductions in patient death rates, increased patient satisfaction and reduced infection rates. Existing research into nursing leadership often concentrates on Ward Sisters and managers on Bands 6 and 7.
Resources for nurses who wish to develop their leadership skills exist, but often assume a management or educational perspective. The question is, what do Band 5 nurses want from their own leadership development?
The RCN Foundation funded Northumbria University to conduct a service evaluation into Band 5 leadership development in 2021. Research centred on interviews with 18 Band 5 nurses and midwives from a range of wards and departments, from care homes to surgical units.
Three themes emerged from the data analysis:
Opportunities for leadership.
Defining leadership: participants associated leadership with role seniority, length of service, management of staff, leading care, and having innate leadership qualities.
Opportunities for leadership: opportunities to lead were different in different work contexts and settings, and often arose ‘out of necessity’ when usual leaders and managers were absent.
Leadership development: Participants reported an absence of formal band 5 leadership development. Opportunities for informal development depended on staff proactively seeking opportunities to shadow leaders, and the willingness of leaders and managers to informally support development.
Read the full report here.
The Leader 5 Framework
Findings informed the generation of the Leader 5 Framework – a leadership development needs framework for Band 5 nurses. This underpins both a degree and postgraduate Band 5 leadership module developed by Northumbria University as a result of this study.
The framework comprises of 5 key requirements:
A standardised, accessible definition of leadership.
Access to, and availability of, leadership education courses for Band 5 nurses.
Support and supervision in practice.
A supportive organisational infrastructure and culture.
Career pathways for Band 5 nurses.