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New support scheme for aspiring nurse education leaders


Four aspiring deans of health have been awarded scholarships, as part of a ground-breaking scheme to help develop future academic leaders in nursing and midwifery.

The scheme, which was announced in March this year, is aimed at people looking to lead university faculties with nursing, midwifery or allied health professional courses.

“We must do all we can to support a new generation of senior leaders”

Jessica Corner

Those winning places on the pilot scheme include Fiona Irvine, head of nursing at the University of Birmingham and Tracy Humphrey, professor of midwifery at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.

Health higher education leadership scholarships were also awarded to Sally Hayes, head of the school of health and wellbeing at Leeds Beckett University, and Ian Beith, head of the school of rehabilitation sciences at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London.

The successful candidates will now benefit from a tailored programme of support that brings together both the health and higher education aspects of a dean’s role.

Jessica Corner

It is a joint initiative by the Florence Nightingale Foundation and Council of Deans of Health.

Council of Deans chair Dame Jessica Corner said she was delighted at the amount of interest in the scheme.

“Leading health higher education is a complex and challenging task and we must do all we can to support a new generation of senior leaders who will develop the strength and depth of our disciplines,” she said.

Elizabeth Robb, chief executive of the Florence Nightingale Foundation, said it was a challenging time for both the health and education sector.

Liz Robb

Liz Robb

“The quality of applications to this scheme demonstrates the huge potential of these awards to support educators and researchers develop their leadership capacity,” she said.

Recent challenges faced by the university sector include a shortfall in funding for nursing and midwifery courses, with the Council of Deans and higher education institutions fighting cuts proposed by Health Education England.


Readers' comments (3)

  • Yet another Americanisation of our culture, drop the word manager and straight away you can get away with paying less.
    I also feel very uneasy with the word 'leader' which I believe translates to Führer in German, having Jewish relatives I find this highly distressing!

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  • Anonymous | 11-Dec-2014 11:17 am

    ridiculous comment!

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  • Couldn’t disagree more with the anonymous comment above.
    A lack of good leadership by the nursing profession has been highlighted as a key factor in numerous scandals of poor care for patients. This is exactly the kind of scheme needed to support leadership development for nursing.

    The role of a University Head of Nursing is certainly complex and there are opportunities to proactively influence higher standards of care in many ways. For example, in recruitment. NHS Trusts often try to address chronic shortages of nurses by agency and overseas recruitment - an expensive stop-gap approach to filling vacancies. Meanwhile, the untapped pool of nurses who are qualified but not working face major hurdles if they want to return to nursing after a gap of 5 years. Applicants are required to do around 200 hours’ unpaid clinical practice in addition to the course fee, and theoretical assignments.

    University Heads of Nursing can add hugely to NHS Trusts ‘quality improvement’ programmes by ensuring the focus of interventions is always based on evidence. Nurses at NHS Trust Board level need their University allies to influence Board colleagues of the value of a well-trained and motivated nursing workforce. There is abundant evidence that such investment saves large amounts of money for the NHS overall, for example, by reducing complications, improving recovery rates and reducing harm to patients.

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