24th July 2018

#150Leaders consulted on future of healthcare leadership education

Students were invited to a focus group led by Health Education England on the Maximising Leadership Project. Vicky, Jess and Jaspreet share their experiences.

Pippa Chillman (Student Mental Health Nurse), Ella Smith (Student Occupational Therapist), Vicky Reynolds (Student Children’s Nurse), Janine Dobson (trainee Nurse Associate), Jess Rees (Student Adult Nurse) and Jaspreet Singh (Student


We met Dr Patricia Owen (Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery, Keele University and Academic Lead: Maximising Leadership Project), Adam Turner (Health Education England, Leadership OD and Talent Programme Lead) and Sue Baknak (Project Lead: Maximising Leadership Project) to share our views about learning about leadership in pre-registration courses and how important having the opportunity for prior learning is for when we graduate and practice as a qualified healthcare professionals.

We were introduced to the Maximising Leadership research aims, which included moving forward from leadership being a bolt-on subject, working towards a future where leadership is embedded in the curricula and graduates are prepared leaders. The projects intended outcome is to produce the set of guidelines that will be integrate leadership and development right the way through university curricular. Dr Patricia Owen discussed the various phases of research that had been incorporated to develop an inclusive model for the maximising leadership project, she was generous with her time and explained how these steps were utilised to capture common themes and to help to identify what makes a valuable and beneficial leadership programme.

The research stages include:

  • Original research
  • Mapping of standards
  • Scoping and case studies
  • Literature-what has already been said and done
  • Practice- what is already being done in various settings

During a working lunch (which was very gratefully received thank you!) we were able to contribute to the shaping of this research by sharing our experiences of leadership learning, based upon our university and practice experience and significantly through the opportunities and experiences granted to us through the #150leaders programme.

For me this was a fantastic opportunity to dig-deep and really consider my encounters with leadership coaching and development; which surprisingly originated during induction training for a post as waitress at a popular ,end-of the-week named American-themed restaurant: here theory-based practice was fused into absolutely every situation and scenario- I recall it was a fabulous introduction to working with purpose which I feel I have been able to bring forward to the present day; I was genuinely interested to learn from the Maximising Leadership team that my own place of study the University of Worcester was one of the pilot locations incorporated into the research through integrating leadership into the pre-registration nursing curriculum, I was able to share my thoughts and experiences of how this ran and I was able to recognise how the findings from research had been put into action and delivered to us as students, including: looking at various scenarios and identifying different leadership roles, working in groups to develop strategies and demonstrate leadership skills; it is however without a doubt the opportunities gifted through the #150 Leaders programme that have enhanced and brought to life my education, understanding and implementation of leadership; through the meeting of like-minded individuals all thirsty to learn and grow, sharing experiences and listening to, and learning from, exceptional speakers during the conferences, getting connected and using online opportunities to widen our knowledge and contribute to discussion, constantly enhancing our understanding of leadership, and widening our networks for the future; additionally there have been opportunities that have been offered as a result of the programme including LCAV #lead2add and this Maximising Leadership Project.

As a group there was a resounding agreement in the room that a national framework that delivered a programme of leadership was an absolute essential and we were very proud, as delegates of the Council of Deans of Health Student Leadership Programme, to have been given the opportunity to contribute to the shaping of it.

“I just wanted to thank you again for your great contributions to our draft work on maximising learning about …We were really impressed with your interest and thoughtful comments and reflections. They will be utilised in our plans going forward…I am very certain that the professions you represent are safe in your hands going forward” Dr Patricia Owen


We had a working lunch during their presentation of their draft framework and then a group discussion. We introduced the Student Leadership Programme in terms of its’ structure, the cohorts and our individual experiences. Then we used Mentimeter to feedback on the draft framework so far, discussing the concepts we felt to be most important and which teaching methods are best suited for leadership learning.

We had all been at the #150Leaders London event two days previously and so leadership was already at the forefront of our minds. As a group we realised that we hadn’t met each other in London and so it was a perfect opportunity for networking. I felt that the meeting was a great way to reflect on my journey so far. I’ve realised how I have changed as a student and leader due to my time on the programme. Adam and Pat encouraged us to think of it in an educational way and my favoured learning style is the workshops we did in Reading. The opportunity for group discussion, teamwork and active listening skills really founded the content in memory.

The message I wanted to get across was inclusivity. We all agreed how lucky we were to be #150Leaders but I want every healthcare student to be equipped with the same skills. I am excited by the draft framework and the professional development it will lead to for the future practitioners in our NHS. Pat’s opening statement was ‘What would our healthcare services be like in 20 years time if everyone qualifying as a healthcare professional felt empowered to lead and improve all aspects of our NHS?’. I would encourage all #150Leaders to engage with this document when it is published in September and be a part of the drive to change our curricula to improve our students for the benefit of everyone.

“Thank you for all of your energy, enthusiasm and fantastic contributions to help us shape this work,… how amazing are you to say you have helped shape a national framework – this is something that demonstrates true leadership qualities and absolutely to share on your CVs!” Adam J. Turner, Health Education England


I found the maximising leadership meeting to be hugely beneficial in not only expressing how the student leadership programme has benefited me individually and professionally, but also by allowing me to reflect on how leadership within healthcare education can be improved.  This was particularly important for me as excellent leadership skills are not streamlined and applied in all practice areas and healthcare organisations, which can be disheartening for students who learn about leadership but do not see this reflected in practice. Subsequently, I was able to discuss this perspective within the meeting, which will influence future healthcare education policy through allowing programme leaders and universities to re-examine how leadership is taught. This in turn, will influence the potential of leadership to be realised from an early stage in ones career in order to attain effective and high quality healthcare services in the future. I once again thank you to the Council of Deans of Health for this amazing opportunity, as it truly enabled me to apply what I have been learning about leadership into practice through reflection.