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28.11.18

Essential support for mid-level leaders

Source: NHE Nov/Dec 2018

In September, the NHS Leadership Academy launched its new Rosalind Franklin programme for ‘mid-level’ leaders in health and care. Steven Hart, director of leadership development at Health Education England and the academy’s leader, reports.

There are 46,500 staff in our NHS that operate at ‘mid-level’ – these are professionals who are ‘leaders of leaders,’ but not yet members of executive boards. This is the ‘connecting layer’ of leadership; the vital link between strategy and delivery. Many of these colleagues are working in these essential roles having had insufficient or even no development support.

Inclusive and compassionate leadership at all levels of the NHS will improve patient care, staff engagement, and efficiency of practice. The aim of the Rosalind Franklin programme is to support staff working at this level with the focused, high-quality leadership development they need to flourish and to be able to support and unleash the potential of their teams in service of patients, service users and communities.

Since 2013, the academy has run a hugely successful Masterʼs-level programme aimed at mid-level leaders, the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme. Over 1,300 participants have successfully graduated, and the academy will continue to provide this programme for staff who want academic leadership development and are able to commit to a two-year period. However, research recently commissioned by the academy showed there’s a significant gap – and a strong appetite – for a less time-intensive leadership development programme without the academic demands of a Masterʼs.

The Rosalind Franklin programme is the Leadership Academy’s response to this need. It will support leaders to develop the behaviours that really matter in health and care: compassion, inclusion, collaboration, and knowledge of improvement skills and how to apply them. It aims to:

  • Help shape the knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours of clinical or non-clinical mid-level leaders to help them become outstanding leaders;
  • Develop inclusive and compassionate leaders working at all levels across the NHS.

The nine-month programme opened for applications in November and will incorporate a blended learning style comprising online learning, face-to-face workshops, and small group work.

The programme has a core common syllabus, but with scope for customisation to ensure that the unique context and variety of different parts of the service can be incorporated. This could be according to geography (e.g. over an STP footprint); workforce (e.g. primary care, clinical trainees); organisation (e.g. an arm’s-length body); or situation (e.g. improving commissioning capability).

The programme will be scaled up over the next three years until it reaches the capacity where all leaders operating in these connecting roles have the opportunity to access outstanding leadership development.

The Leadership Academy recognises the contributions of outstanding leaders to the NHS by naming its leadership development programmes after those who have had a positive and influential impact on healthcare. Current programme names include the Edward Jenner, Mary Seacole, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, and Nye Bevan programmes. After a period of consultation, Rosalind Franklin was chosen for this programme in recognition of her achievements.

Pictured here, Rosalind Elsie Franklin (25 July 1920 – 16 April 1958) was a British scientist best known for her contributions to the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. Franklin also contributed new insight on the structure of viruses, helping to lay the foundation for the field of structural virology.

Her X-ray diffraction images of DNA enabled the University of Cambridge’s Francis Crick and James Watson to identify the molecule’s double helix structure, which subsequently led to Crick and Watson receiving the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Unfortunately, Franklin wasn’t eligible for consideration for the prize as, at the time, it wasn’t awarded posthumously.

Anyone can register their interest on our website. We’ll provide further information when the application process opens.

 

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