Nurses should be given more opportunities to take a lead role in clinical practice, the head of the Royal College of Nursing has said.
Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary, called for a greater focus on nurse leadership, as well as the introduction of more nurse-led clinics.
In a speech to the Nurse Clinics Conference in London, he admitted that there were still barriers to nurses being able to lead clinical practice.
While increasing numbers of nurses are being appointed as executive directors, more must also be done to recognise the leadership taken by those at ward level, Mr Carter added.
He said he believed all members of nursing staff should feel confident enough to take the lead, as they play a crucial part in driving through changes in the NHS.
Mr Carter said: “Good leadership is taking place every day at all levels of nursing but often isn’t recognised - this is something which the RCN’s “This is Nursing” initiative hopes to change.
“Good practice and leadership needs to be shared as much as possible to inspire the nurse leaders of tomorrow.”
During his speech, Mr Carter highlighted RCN research which suggests that nurse-led clinics and specialist nursing posts could help save the NHS money in the long-term.
He also reiterated demands for mandatory regulation and training programmes for healthcare assistants, to ensure that everyone who cares for patients is fully trained and competent for the role.