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The big question: is leadership lacking in nursing?


One of the profession’s most authoritative champions recently told Nursing Times that nurse leadership is lacking from the ward right up to the House of Lords.

Baroness Audrey Emerton said the quality of nursing care often came down to the quality of leadership.

However, she feared nurses across the UK were not getting the training or support they needed to become leaders and middle management in particular was “weak”.

Do you agree with Baroness Emerton’s comments? What should be done to improve leadership in the profession?


Readers' comments (5)

  • I agree, the profession has lacked leadership for a very long time. One has only to observe the behaviour of senior nurses in most hospitals. They are not what I would class as a 'leader'. To be a 'leader' one has to lead by example. Instead we have a bunch of yes men. These people implement just about any order given to them. No matter how detrimental to the system, they make sure those orders are implemented. So what are they? They are enforcers, and overseers. The sort of people who if you them to, will hammer square pegs into round holes.

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  • What is meant by "leadership"?

    I have asked my managers this question many times and have yet to receive an adequate or intelligible answer.

    I also worked in a ward management role and a community team leader role with no preparation or support from more senior staff, especially managers.

    Many moons ago I was forced on pain of financial penalty to undergo Leading an Empowered Organisation (oh, the irony!), LEO, training when that was flavour of the month. I have to say it was the biggest waste of 3 days in my entire life - psychobabble and factual inaccuracies (I spotted the Mehrabian Fallacy in the wild on this one) with next to nothing of any value or relevance to my work. This was also, inaccurately, stated to have been pretty much universally regarded positively...Except they did not survey all the people they claimed to have done, because I was one of those supposed to have been surveyed and I wasn't, nor were my colleagues, and we were all highly critical of it...

    Then we have my last trust who made a huge song and dance about their Myers-Briggs programme for leadership development. That'll be Myers-Briggs for which no evidence of efficacy exists that does not come from within the "priesthood", no external, peer-reviewed evidence...

    If the powers that be cannot make their minds up what they actually mean by leadership nor set up suitable training nor tell the truth about its efficacy (or lack of), then it is no wonder that there are problems

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  • That's because they actually want management not leadership basket. They want an obedient layer of power that is beholden to the next layer up that can exact direction and productivity from the floor without challenge.
    One of the serious obstacles to this is the lack of emotional intelligence. The GP's are talking about the leadership issue as well framing the debate in terms of what 'must be done' and reversing the structural changes, and being transparent, which is all well and good but misses an important point. How the people in the professions treat each other is how the professions treat patients and ultimately not just how they care but whether they care and whether they are able to care in the current system. How management treat the staff will spill out onto each other and then in turn the patients. That's how it works.
    Now I'm on a soapbox! I need a cup of tea!!

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  • It's a necessary soap box! Move over a bit so I can join you on it?

    I entirely agree with you, and IME most of the worst offenders are nurses who go into management, who seem to forget instantly their professional background and "go native". This is what I, and my sister, observed over a period of 35 years...Neither of us got beyond Band 7 (and mine was a clinical Band 7, a rare beast in its own right)...

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  • Ha! Thanks Basket. Appreciate the solidarity and good company. :)

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