Career advice

QNI programme will shape community nursing leaders of the future

Next spring will see the launch of a leadership programme for Queen’s Nurses. Lynne Pearce talks to programme manager Sharon Aldridge-Bent.

Next spring will see the launch of a leadership programme for Queen’s Nurses. Lynne Pearce talks to programme manager Sharon Aldridge-Bent

The Future Community Leaders programme is being developed by the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) under the guidance of its newly appointed programme manager, Sharon Aldridge-Bent. 

The new leadership programme aims to improve care in the community. Picture: Alamy

She has already surveyed the UK’s 1,030 Queen’s Nurses (QNs) to find out what they want from their bespoke leadership programme, and has carried out a literature review and looked at other organisations’ programmes. ‘I’m starting from inception, with lots of ideas and enthusiasm,’ she says. 

Ms Aldridge-Bent, who became a QN in 2014, believes the programme will help to plug a gap. ‘As a leading organisation that is all about community nursing, for us not to do anything like this feels remiss,’ she says. ‘We are going to talk about community and not apologise for it.’ 

As a senior lecturer at Buckinghamshire New University, Ms Aldridge-Bent has been teaching district nurses for 12 years, and developing her own innovative leadership learning approaches over the past 5 years. 

Revised content

‘We decided that the module we were running was very “chalk and talk”, so we rewrote it,’ she says. ‘It’s good to be able to come to the QNI and replicate some of what I’ve done.’

Her interactive module looked at different leadership styles, models and theories, but also developed an event that involved bidding for funds in a Dragons’ Den-style presentation. 

‘This was a lot of fun, but it also taught students about the commissioning process and how to deliver an efficient service in the community,’ says Ms Aldridge-Bent. ‘We were trying to plug students into the new NHS agenda, which is about operating more like a business, measuring what you do and how you do it.’  

Community focus

Her own experience of being on training programmes is that they don’t always reflect what’s happening in the community. She says she welcomes the chance to create something that incorporates current issues. Although it is still in the planning stages, Ms Aldridge-Bent has already begun mapping the content. 

‘I have my umbrella themes,’ she says. ‘My vision is for people to develop themselves, identifying and understanding where they are on the leadership journey. I’d like them to consider how they lead others, how they manage change in their organisations and what the future holds. 

‘I want to develop a leader who understands where they are in the organisation and where they are going to go.’

Selection process

The programme is set for launch in May next year, and the first cohort will likely comprise 15-20 QNs who will earn their place via an application process. 

‘I want robust selection so people know they have met the criteria and are the right person at the right stage of their career,’ says Ms Aldridge-Bent. 

‘In 3-5 years’ time, they will be moving into community leadership roles. Here they are picking up their tools.’ 

As the programme develops, more information will be posted on the QNI website 

Lynne Pearce is a freelance journalist 

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