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

Want to read more?

Already subscribed? Log in


Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first 3 months

Your subscription package includes:
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals and their archives
  • Customisable dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests
RCN student member? Try Nursing Standard Student

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