Ward leader's handbook


A guide for those who aspire to be a ward leader, those already in post and for trusts that want to support and develop this important role.

The ward leader’s role is recognised as pivotal in managing clinical services, improving patient outcomes and effective teamworking. The Francis Inquiry identified the need to strengthen the ward leader’s role, recognising its complexity and the need for trusts to support it. 

Where nurses demonstrate and use their transformational leadership skills, wards have fewer safety incidents, less staff absence and lower turnover. As the NHS develops more complex systems, it is essential that ward leaders can operate in that changing environment, enabling and sustaining excellent performance.

Using the handbook

Directors of nursing can use this handbook to support local development programmes aimed at improving the leadership skills of nurses working in wards irrespective of the setting.

Individual ward leaders can use this handbook as part of their professional development discussions with their employer.

Local context will be important, and you should take account of it when using the handbook.

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