'Ignite the mind's spark to rise the sun in you'

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Layla Alani, is a Director of Governance and Deputy Chief Nurse, and she is about to embark on a new challenge as Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals and Professional Lead. 

As an FNF Scholar, in this blog she looks back at her career to date and the opportunities that lie ahead, and talks about the impact the FNF Scholarship has had on her leadership development.

“I have always loved a quote or inspirational message and this one, from Florence Nightingale, is one of my favourites: Ignite the mind’s spark to rise the sun in you.’ It is a reminder that when we put our minds to it we can achieve great things through self-belief and the belief of others.


As I have progressed through my career the balance of clinical acumen, the understanding and application of systems and processes, professional standards, and leadership have been fundamental in supporting, influencing, and delivering high-quality care for our patients and supporting our nursing workforce to develop and grow. I am currently employed as a Director of Governance and Deputy Chief Nurse and am about to embark on a new challenge as Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals and Professional Lead – a position that I feel extremely privileged to hold going forward.

It has always been important to me to consolidate within the roles that I have held throughout my career, to demonstrate tangible improvement and identify key learning opportunities along the way. I have pushed myself to take on new challenges actively seeking opportunities to learn from others across a number of organisations including working within neurological services, end-of-life care, specialist nursing roles, Associate Chief Nurse, Deputy Director of Governance and over the last few years within a dual role as Director of Governance and Deputy Chief Nurse within which I have also held responsibility for compliance, quality improvement and research.

When I reflect upon my nursing career one of the most fundamental learnings I have experienced was following the support that I received when selected as a Florence Nightingale Foundation Scholar on the Aspiring Nurse Director Programme in 2019 – a privilege and highlight of my career.

This programme enabled me to further develop my leadership skills in a bespoke and focused manner making sense of my own lived experiences – what a great way to learn and progress! This requires an element of vulnerability alongside a receptive and transparent approach to learning, recognising the things that we do really well as individuals and within teams with equal consideration for what we can do better. This method of learning afforded me the time to really reflect, consider and re-balance whilst learning not only from programme leads and mentors but from other Scholars within my cohort, many of whom I consider to be great friends and confidants. This formed the basis of the Windsor Leadership Programme which I chose to attend as part of my bespoke development. The RADA programme (a compulsory element of the course) pushed me out of my comfort zone, furthering my confidence with lots of laughs along the way! This really was a highlight of the programme.

I am incredibly honoured to have worked alongside many amazing people throughout my career, being supported through trusted mentorship and the opportunities that presented to me following my completion of the Florence Nightingale Foundation programme. As a Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals it is vital to have the confidence to think differently with the ability to influence through experience, ultimately driving standards of care – skills that I have gained through a breadth of knowledge and the diversity of roles undertaken. This coupled with ‘igniting the minds spark’ building courage, competence and self-belief has led me to my next chapter, again in a very different sphere and one which is so fundamental in influencing the future of our health services through addressing health inequalities with a passion to provide care closer to home.”

If you would like to find out more about FNF Scholarships, please click here.