In 2015, the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) Trustees agreed to fund a leadership development programme for Queen’s Nurses. After a rigorous selection process, the very first group of 12 commenced their programme on 23 May, with three days of residential activities.
The programme, led by QNI Programme Director Sharon Aldridge-Bent, provides the group with an opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to become effective and influential leaders.
It has been a privilege to be a part of both the shortlisting and the selection panel, and to share the group’s experiences on the first day of the programme. There is no doubt that this cohort of Queen’s Nurses is passionate about high quality care for patients, families, carers and communities. They are committed to the self-development and improvement that will enable them, in future leadership roles, to play an even greater part in shaping services.
It is quite by chance that the group are from a very broad range of specialist backgrounds and represent a very wide geographical spread, coming from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Such fortuitous representation provides a perfect opportunity to compare, contrast and analyse the diverse needs of the different communities they serve—and the variety of ways that NHS and other services respond to them.
The 2015 cohort of Queen’s Nurses will be undertaking a change project over the next year, implementing a change in practice that will make a positive difference to the quality of care received by patients within their services. They will explore the barriers and enablers as their project progresses; they will grow in strength, creativity and confidence as they overcome the challenges and are inspired to become ‘solution-focused’ in their approach.
A number of terms were used frequently in the first day, and ‘leading with authenticity, professionalism, integrity and kindness’ became a theme as the Queen’s Nurses explored their aspirations for the year-long development programme. I was heartened to see this realisation so early in the programme—and I know that this signals the very positive aspirations the Queen’s Nurses hold for their success.
The day did not pass without my sincere thanks to the National Garden Scheme (NGS). Without the grant funding we receive each year from the NGS, we would be unable to support the development of the Queen’s Nurse network, which provides the foundation upon which we can build the next generation of skilled leaders in community services.
Dr Crystal Oldman is chief executive of the QNI