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Scheme to develop nurses’ clinical and academic skills improves job satisfaction

Programme also creates leadership and research pathway for band 5 nurses

Programme also creates leadership and research pathway for band 5 nurses


Nurses on the programme are supported by mentors. Picture: Neil O’Connor

A trust’s programme to develop nurses’ clinical and academic skills has improved staff retention, professional development and job satisfaction.

The Chief Nurse Excellence in Care Junior Fellowship (CNF) initiative began in 2016 at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH), which employs more than 5,000 nurses.

Programme brings successful results 

CNF provides opportunities for front-line band 5 nurses to enhance their clinical skills, embark on an academic career pathway, and gain leadership skills and knowledge with support from mentors.

All 22 nurses who have been through the programme have remained within the trust, and 75% have moved into leadership or research positions.

A further eight nurses are due to start the programme in the coming weeks.

Seeing practice with ‘fresh eyes’

NUH Institute for Nursing and Midwifery Care Excellence clinical research lead Louise Bramley said: ‘We need these flexible, innovative workforce solutions to retain staff.’

Speaking at the RCN International Nursing Research Conference in Sheffield, she added: ‘Newly qualified nurses have fresh eyes – they have great ideas about how they want to change practice.’

Ms Bramley said funding for the project came from ‘vacancy underspend’ at the trust, which has around 450 nursing vacancies. ‘It costs something like £20,000 to recruit one individual,’ she said. 

Focus on quality improvement

The nurse fellows were given the equivalent of one day a week for a year to undertake the programme.

The initiative includes one-to-one coaching with senior nurses, clinical and academic practice development, and a quality improvement project to support patient care within each fellow’s area of work.

Enhanced patient experience

Successful projects included a redesign of the patient pathway for acute care of patients with mental health crises seen in the emergency department, and improved waiting and treatment times for patients with neutropenic sepsis.

Case studies of these projects have shown a demonstrable improvement in patient experiences and outcomes, as well as cost savings.

The nurse fellows reported a positive impact on job satisfaction and their personal and professional development.


Read more about the programme 


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