Developing effective nurse leadership skills
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Developing effective nurse leadership skills

Denise Major Deputy director of nursing, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To enable you to outline the various types and characteristics of leadership

  • To understand the importance of effective nurse leadership and its effect on patient care

  • To identify ways to enhance your leadership skills and apply these in your everyday practice

Leadership is a role that nurses are expected to fulfil, regardless of their job title and experience. Nurses are required to lead and manage care as soon as they have completed their training. However, the development of leadership skills and the associated learning can be challenging, especially for less experienced nurses and those at the beginning of their careers. This article examines the importance of effective leadership for nurses, patients and healthcare organisations, and outlines some of the theories of leadership such as transformational leadership. It also details how nurses can develop their leadership skills, for example through self-awareness, critical reflection and role modelling.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11247


Major D (2019) Developing effective nurse leadership skills. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2019.e11247

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Published online: 07 May 2019

Your organisation does not have access to this article
Recommend to your librarian
Already have access? Log in


3-month trial offer for �5.25/month

Subscribe today and save 50% on your first three months
RCNi Plus users have full access to the following benefits:
  • Unlimited access to all 10 RCNi Journals
  • RCNi Learning featuring over 175 modules to easily earn CPD time
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Revalidation Portfolio to stay on track with your progress
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
  • A customisable dashboard with over 200 topics

Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now

Are you a student? Our student subscription has content especially for you.
Find out more