Leadership Programme for Mental Health nurses

A leadership programme to enhance the career of nurses caring and supporting those with mental ill health

Realising the leadership potential of Mental Health Nurses is essential for strengthening the voice of workforce and enabling them to influence the factors that impact on the quality of care they deliver. Their ambition, commitment and motivation should be harnessed and developed to retain and invest in them, but also to enable them to drive improvements within their teams, their organisation and the national agenda.

Dr Gemma Stacey

Mental Health Nurse Leadership Programme overview


Health Education England has joined forces with the Florence Nightingale Foundation to offer this career development opportunity to recognise the contribution of Mental Health Nurses. Since 1929, the Florence Nightingale Foundation has been committed to advancing the study of nursing and midwifery practice, promoting excellence and preparing nurses and midwives to follow in the footsteps of its namesake, to provide the best possible care to patients across the UK. This leadership programme is fully funded by Health Education England. It offers 40 (2 cohorts of 20) Mental Health Nurses bespoke leadership development to become Florence Nightingale Nurses and develop as future leaders of healthcare. We will accept applications from nurses working in the field of Mental Health in the NHS or NHS commissioned services across England.

Programme dates:

Two cohorts of 20 will be supported. If accepted onto the programme you will be allocated to cohort 1 or 2. The programme will be delivered mainly virtually due to current circumstances surrounding Covid-19. We aim to deliver the celebration day face to face depending on government guidelines at the time.

Both Cohorts

Advert opens: 15th July 2020
Advert closes: 14th August 2020
Shortlist: W/b 17th August 2020

Cohort 1

  • Welcome day: 1st September 2020 (Virtual session)
  • Quality Improvement: 2nd September 2020 (Virtual session)
  • RADA: 14th and 15th September 2020 (Virtual session)
  • Residential: 8th and 9th October 2020 (Virtual session)
  • Publication workshop: 19th October 2020
  • Final Day: 12th November 2020 (Virtual session)
  • Celebration day: TBC December 2020 (Face to face)

Cohort 2

  • Welcome day: 8th September 2020 (Virtual session)
  • Quality Improvement: 9th September 2020 (Virtual session)
  • RADA: 17th and 18th September 2020 (Virtual session)
  • Residential: 12th and 13th October (Virtual session)
  • Publication workshop: 19th October 2020
  • Final Day: 17th November 2020 (Virtual session)
  • Celebration day: TBC December 2020 (Face to face)

Expected Outcomes

An opportunity to benefit from a leadership programme and senior leadership support to develop as leaders, to improve patient and health outcomes for 40 Mental Health Nurses. All module costs are funded for participants including catering for face to face programme events, overnight accommodation for the residential programme, course fees for RADA and entry to Westminster Abbey service.

Other benefits

  • Leadership style

    Clear identification of personal leadership style
  • Impact

    Greater self-presence and personal impact as well as understanding the impact of self on others
  • Confidence

    Increase confidence and ability to speak up and be hear plus confidence in speaking with and to authority
  • Career progression

    Clear career progression opportunities
  • Change

    Understand and lead change
  • Resilience

    Improved personal resilience, influence and capabilities to deal with the challenges and demands of a mid-career leadership role
  • Lead Practice

    Improved personal impact to help drive progress to build and lead practice that is inclusive, patient-centred and delivers compassionate care
  • Personal approach to leadership

    Critically aware of personal approach to leadership - biases, blind spots, attitude to diversity - and how to continue to develop own leadership after the programme
  • Workplace continuous improvement

    Confidence to tackle real workplace issues, reflecting what is needed in the clinical setting to promote safe, high-performing and a practice area that is continuously improving
  • Clinical settings

    Improved skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to succeed and operate successfully in clinical settings
  • Positive change in practice setting

    Demonstrate a positive change made within the practice setting to provide better services/ increase patient outcomes and experiences/ improve staff engagement and morale - introduction to quality improvement

Programme structure

Due to the current situation surrounding Covid-19, this programme will mainly take place virtually with the residential module and celebration day provisionally booked face to face subject to government guidelines nearer the time.
  • Welcome Day (Virtual session) - a briefing day to establish individual cohort learning communities and introduction to self and impact of self on others through Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment and exercises.
  • 1- day virtual QI session - advice and guidance on your QI project
  • 2-day residential with a unique cohort of FNF Nurses and Midwives designed to build a learning community and a robust network of peer support throughout the programme and beyond. Facilitated discussion on current leadership challenges and opportunities and other contemporary topics Introduce FNF Nurses and Midwives to co-consulting, a simple process for giving and receiving help
  • 2 half-day virtual “Presence & Impact” Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) Programme
  • Writing for publication workshop
  • 1-day virtual final day to identify next steps in the leadership journey
  • Florence Nightingale Commemoration Service, Westminster Abbey, London - a unique opportunity for nurses, midwives, health care professionals, family members and guests to celebrate their professions and at the same time give thanks for Florence Nightingale’s extraordinary legacy to healthcare
  • High profile award ceremony to celebrate the success of the FNF Nurses and Midwives at end of the programme.

Eligibility criteria

Band 5 – 6 Mental Health nurses working in the NHS or NHS commissioned services. It is relevant for those considering their future career pathway and leadership development journey.

Application process

Applications are now closed.

Chief Nurse Nominator Form

Line Manager Nominator Form

To prepare for your application please have a look at the leadership questions here

The application, shortlisting and selection processes will be administered nationally by the Florence Nightingale Foundation with HEE representation at shortlisting and interview.


  1. Applications open 15th July 2020
  2. Applications close 14th August 2020
  3. Shortlisting w/b 17th August 2020

Information for applying online:

You will be expected to demonstrate:

  • how you will use the programme to work with others, learn from, and share experiences
  • how the programme will support your personal development plan (PDP)
  • how you will use the experience to improve patient and health outcomes
  • your aspirations to develop as a leader
  • support from your line manager and Chief Nurse to enable you to attend all learning sessions/opportunities as part of this programme