Publish date: 8 December 2022

Work by a lead nurse at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT, following a national leadership programme for junior nurses, has been published in the prestigious journal Nursing Management.

Senior colleagues have welcomed the article by Antony Makepeace and are already using his findings to promote better career opportunities for junior team members at the Trust’s Stamford Unit, where he is Directorate Manager.

Antony, a Florence Nightingale Foundation Scholar, who has been a nurse for more than 24 years, drew on the work of more than 30 national and international reports and findings and his own extensive career with several NHS Trusts, to draw his conclusions. These include the need for more ethnic minority nurses at the highest levels in the NHS, and better support and preparation for junior nurses applying for more senior positions.

Antony explains; “Development programmes for junior nurses are usually focused on clinical skills and often do not consider leadership and communication. Furthermore, any opportunities for leadership development that do arise are not always easily accessible by all nurses, for example those from ethnic minority backgrounds. However, nurse leadership skills are crucial to support the delivery of effective patient care.

“I am encouraging nursing managers to look at existing programmes, such as ASPIRE, at Tameside Hospital, but also to be flexible in using other providers such as the NHS Leadership Academy and Florence Nightingale Foundation.  There are also many opportunities in clinical practice to provide leadership development opportunities.  Staff trained abroad and nurses from minority ethnic groups are staff who particularly can benefit from this approach as evidence suggests that they may struggle to access opportunities.”

Trust Chief Executive, Karen James OBE, who was a nurse herself before moving into management roles says there is evidence that effective leadership is directly correlated with improved staff satisfaction, patient experience and clinical outcomes. Positive staff satisfaction is also linked with higher nurse retention levels, low levels of staff turnover, positive psychological outcomes for staff and effective recruitment. She adds: “We are proud of Antony’s work to highlight the importance of professional development and career opportunities for junior nurses. It’s true there are pressures on staffing and resources across the NHS, but at our Trust we recognise how important it is that senior managers make the time to mentor and coach the more junior members of their nursing team.”