Name: Antony Makepeace
Scholarship type: FNF Leadership Scholarship 2020-2021
Publication title: Developing a leadership programme for junior nurses
Publication link (open access): https://journals.rcni.com/nursing-management/cpd/developing-a-leadership-programme-for-junior-nurses-nm.2022.e2057/abs
Lifelong learning is an expectation of all nurses and nursing associates. However, after preceptorship there is limited guidance on how junior nurses can progress in their careers. Formal training programmes were limited by pressures associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as long-term financial and resource restrictions across the NHS. Nurses’ expectations of professional development and well-being have also been affected by their experiences during the pandemic. This article explores how nurses in management positions can create professional development opportunities for nurses, particularly in leadership. The author identifies how leaders can support their staff to broaden their skills and knowledge despite pressures on staffing and resources.
Despite the fact that the Scholarship had to take a back seat when Covid-19 hit, the programme provided me with a great peer network from the start. This is one of the big strengths of the programme. Participants were so diverse and aspirational.
In 2021 the Scholarship picked back up again, with some in-person activities resuming. I also got a new job with a new trust: Lead Nurse at an Intermediate Care Facility. This meant I changed my Scholarship project, I had to think what was important and relevant to my new role.
In my new team we had 19 senior staff and only two were non-white. Of the Band 5 nurses, 75% were internationally educated or from a global majority background. Some of the internationally educated nurses had leadership experience overseas. So I wanted to make sure there were opportunities for ALL staff to develop, especially as we were coming out of the Covid-19 wave.
I set up a structured programme to provide opportunities to Band 5 staff. It wasn’t about creating new courses but about signposting people to what they could access. I also looked to non-formal forms of education such as shadowing. I do not believe that the only way to go is a taught course.
In terms of publishing my project, I had done some writing over 20 years ago as a newly qualified nurse, and really enjoyed writing again. The journal I eventually published in heard about my work through the FNF Scholarship programme, and they reached out and discussed how the project could become an article: giving guidance along the way.
In my workplace I can say now that the safety culture is stronger, patient experience is improved. The workforce is overall stronger and there is a more diverse senior leadership team. I am really proud of my role in developing the staff to fulfil their potential.
Personally, I am grateful for the role that the FNF Scholarship has played in growing my confidence and leadership skills.