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Clinical blog: Why nurse leaders must learn to blow their own trumpets

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Nursing Times assistant clinical editor Eileen Shepherd says nurses are brilliant at innovation and development, but not so good at shouting about it

I’ve been thinking a lot about clinical leadership. Our online editor Gabriel Fleming sends the clinical team loads of information every week about what you are looking at on the web, and a paper on clinical leadership and senior nurses has been in the top five for weeks.

This started a discussion about why this paper is proving so popular. In my experience, clinical leadership seems to be one of those throwaway terms that is used often but rarely explained. We all know it's, needed but who should do it, and how?

I know there is a lot of work going on looking at developing clinical leadership skills and clearly it is a fundamental part of the matron and consultant nurse role. But when do you start being a clinical leader, and when do you stop?

At what point should we start to train clinical leaders? What about staff nurses? Can they be clinical leaders? The Darzi review clearly identified a need for leadership skills to be taught to nurses , but it will be interesting to see what actually happens.

Please let us know your views on clinical leadership? What skills do you need? How can you access these and what can NT do to help '

Another concern this week is the Nursing Times Awards . They are less than two weeks away, and thoughts in the NT office have turned to finding that dress. I’m not a dress person, and I have to admit wondering whether I can get away with the same one as last year.

Thankfully, the awards are more than dresses and bow ties. They give nurses an opportunity to celebrate and share the brilliant work that is going on in hospitals, communities and care homes across the country. NT will publish the winners in a special awards supplement on 18th November, and you will be able to read more about their work over the next year in the magazine and on .

It always amazes me how many of the shortlisted candidates tell us that they didn’t think they were doing anything special. Not feeling special is a problem for nurses. We don’t shout about what we do well, and yet nurses are brilliant at innovating and changing practice.

Each week we publish articles in NT Clinical , in our regular supplements and in our Sharing Practice section.

We want to know about what you are doing. We want to help you to share your practice so that we can all learn from your experience. So why not email us about innovations and developments going on in your area. We would love to hear from you.

Eileen Shepherd is a registered nurse and clinical editor of Nursing Times

This blog is also published at

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