#WeNurses - Thursday 10th May 2018 8pm (GMT Standard Time) Understanding the leadership needs of ward sisters

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This chat is guest hosted by @CatherinePelley

Understanding the management and leadership needs of ward sisters and team leaders


The ward sister role has been identified as one of the most important roles in the delivery of high quality patient care. The importance of this role was recognised in The Francis Report (Francis, 2013) which recommended that ward sisters should operate in a supervisory capacity.The ward sister should be visible and accessible to both patients and staff alike. The ward sister should also know about the care of every patient on their ward. Ward sisters should be a role model and mentor and enable a caring culture. As they work alongside staff, they develop clinical competencies and leadership skills within the team.

The ward sister is the centre of the patient experience and has an impact on standards of patient care. Effective ward sister leader has a positive impact on patient outcomes, staff performance and overall patient and staff satisfaction.

There is no current set of agreed ward sister competencies and guide in England, with many providers developing systems locally to support ward sisters in their leadership and management development.

The handbook being developed will help and support aspiring and existing ward sisters to identify their own learning needs and areas where they require additional support. Ward sisters will also be able to recognise the aspects where they excel and use this to provide support to colleagues and peers. Trust Directors of Nursing will be able to use the handbook to review existing programmes of support to their ward sisters.

The handbook has been developed following discussions with many providers as well as national bodies such as the RCN and QNI.

The tweet chat will enable a wider audience to contribute to the content of the handbook. The author will take a lead role in the tweet chat sharing the experience of developing the handbook, responding to questions and engaging in conversation with other participants.

Examples of topics that willbe considered include:

·      What are the management skills required to be a ward sister/team leader?

·      What are the leadership skills required to be a ward sister/team leader?

·      What preparation would ward sisters have wanted prior to coming into post?

·      What are the key responsibilities and priorities of the ward sister role?

·      How does a ward sister balance the professional responsibilities and the management responsibilities of the role?

·      What competencies do you need as a ward sister?

·      How can ward sisters be best supported in their role?

Note the use of the term ward sister is generic and includes those working in in-patient settings and managing community teams. The nurse would be working at Band 7 and have 24 hour responsibility for the team and clinical service.


About our guest host

Catherine Pelley Nurse Fellow Leadership NHS Improvement

Catherine has over 30 years’ experience as a nurse in theNHS having worked in acute, community and mental health settings as well as in commissioning organisations. Catherine is currently developing a ward sister/ team leader handbook to support nurses in these roles to gain a wider understanding of the skills and competencies required to work in this pivotal role in patient care.  This handbook will enable nurses in these roles to identify their own learning needs as well as enable providers to develop support programmes for both current and aspiring ward sisters/ team leaders.

Catherine has experience of being a ward sister and team leader in community settings as well as significant senior nurse leadership experience.  Catherine has also benefited from participating in leadership programmes throughout her career. 


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