Clinical leadership refers to anyone in a clinical role who exercises leadership. The term originated from nurses who became managers, but it has grown into a more generalised definition that encompasses anyone with a clinical background.
In Our NHS, Our Future in 2007, the DoH described the essence of clinical leadership as being: 'to motivate, to inspire, to promote the values of the NHS, to empower and to create a consistent focus on the needs of the patients being served.
'Leadership is necessary not just to maintain standards, but to transform services to achieve even higher levels of excellence.
For this article, the working definition of clinical leadership is: 'empowering clinicians to have the confidence and capability to continually improve healthcare on both the small and the large scale.
This definition is deliberately broad, in order to include all those who are involved in formal clinical management and leadership roles but also to include clinicians who do not occupy formal positions in a hierarchy but who nonetheless work systematically to improve the quality and the efficiency of the services they deliver.