RCN launches political leadership programme for senior nurses

College hopes leadership training for nurses on band 8 and above will address recruitment problems

A political leadership programme to help nurses at band 8 and above reach director of nursing level and address recruitment difficulties is being launched by the RCN.

Senior nurses can benefit from the RCN’s programme on political leadership.
Picture: iStock

The college is rolling out the programme following successful pilots in Manchester and London.

RCN interim head of education Anne Corrin said the college identified a need for the programme. ‘Senior nurses need something to help them understand the political structures and processes,’ she said.

‘We know that there’s a shortage of directors of nursing at the moment and it’s hard to recruit for this role. Our programme is geared towards those who want to get to this level.’


The course, which is also for other healthcare professionals at band 8 or equivalent, is different from its predecessor, which was for RCN activists.

Run over two days, the first day concentrates on the individual and the skills needed to exert influence at board level, looking at the theory of system leadership. The second day focuses on understanding local context and how to work across different systems.

‘With the integration agenda, how you work outside your own organisation is becoming increasingly important,’ Dr Corrin said. ‘Health and social care have wholly different ways of working, including language and culture.’

The programme also gives participants the practical skills to be able to work more effectively with local politicians.


A pilot of the programme is also scheduled to take place in Scotland this month (September) with courses taking place once or twice a year.

There are already well-established political leadership courses offered by the RCN in Wales and Northern Ireland.

In England, the next RCN political leadership course is scheduled to take place in October, with exact dates to be confirmed.

For more information, email or call 0207 647 3485.