Leadership Programme for Nursing Associates working in a Mental Health Setting

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

Realising the leadership potential of Nursing Associates working in a Mental Health setting 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 Nursing Associates Leadership Programme overview


Nursing Associates working in mental health settings offer a unique contribution to care delivery, their training will have ensured exposure to all age ranges and a wide diversity health and social care settings, meaning that they bring to mental health settings a wide diversity of skills and experience. In particular they will bring with them a strong skill set in relation to physical health care, which will be of significant value in ensuring parity of esteem across mental health settings, as well as their potential to develop as specialists and leaders in this field should be fostered and developed to harness their talent and commitment. At The Florence Nightingale Foundation we recognise the complex and challenging journey NAs have experienced in their route to qualification. Our aim is to create a critical mass of NA leaders who are motivated to unlock the potential of this role and shape the future direction of NA practice in mental health settings.

Health Education England has joined forces with the Florence Nightingale Foundation to offer this career development opportunity to recognise the contribution of Nursing Associates working in a Mental Health setting. 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 20 Nursing Associates working in a Mental Health Setting 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.

Benefits for you

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 20 Nursing Associates working in a Mental Health Setting. All module costs are funded for participants including catering for face to face programme events, course fees for RADA and entry to Westminster Abbey service.

  • 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

Benefits for employer

  • Retention of Nursing Associates - FNF nursing associated remain in healthcare
  • Positive and empowering impact on team working and staff engagement
  • Improvement in patient and health outcomes
  • Enhanced reputation of employing organisation

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Key Dates

Due to the current situation surrounding Covid-19, this programme will mainly take place virtually with the celebration day provisionally booked face to face subject to government guidelines nearer the time.
  • Welcome Day (Virtual session) - 3rd September 2020
  • QI Session (Virtual session) - 4th September 2020
  • RADA - (2 Virtual half day sessions) - 10th and 11th September 2020
  • Residential (Virtual session) - 1st and 2nd October 2020
  • Final Day - (Virtual session) - 9th November 2020
  • Westminster Abbey - TBC
  • Celebration Day - (Face to face) TBC

What does the programme involve?

  • Welcome day – 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.
  • QI Session – Advice and guidance on quality improvement project.
  • 2-day residential 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 Introduction to self as a systems leader.
  • “Presence & Impact” Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) Programme
  • 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
  • Award ceremony to celebrate the success of the FNF Nurses at end of the programme.

Eligibility criteria

Nursing Associates working in a Mental Health setting 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 21st 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

Apply online