Editorial

Editorial: scheme will help future leaders step up

Deputy nurse directors will be offered additional mentoring and support by more senior colleagues to ensure they are ready for promotion

Deputy nurse directors will be offered additional mentoring and support by more senior colleagues to ensure they are ready for promotion

It is hard to overstate the importance of leadership in nursing.

Ward and community teams rarely thrive without a strong sister or charge nurse, while the most successful organisations in the NHS and the independent sector are invariably well-led by teams that have a nurse to the fore.

Given these undeniable truths and the importance of their role, it is all the more surprising that the health service in England has paid so little attention to supporting directors of nursing in trusts. Until now.

Support and advice 

A scheme developed by NHS Improvement executive director of nursing Ruth May will see deputy nurse directors offered additional mentoring, support and advice by more experienced colleagues. While the scheme will not be mandatory, expect strong demand.

As Nursing Standard has revealed in a succession of annual surveys, turnover among trust directors of nursing is unacceptably high. This can partly be attributed to age profile – inevitably many are close to retirement – but it is also due to a lack of proper preparation before taking up roles, and inadequate support once they are in post.

Ms May’s buddying scheme has the potential to reduce the number of directors who do not make the grade. It should help identify those who are not yet ready, and ensure that those who are promoted can step into the boardroom with confidence.

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