Kate Wilson’s Blog

Categories: Education, Leadership, and Opinion.

The latest update from our Advanced Clinical Practitioner and Nurse Consultant Development programme

As she starts the second of our two-year Advanced Clinical Practitioner and Nurse Consultant Development Programme, Kate Wilson, Clinical Nurse Specialist at St Barnabas in Worthing, shares the growing pains of performing this new role as well as the programme’s impact on her skills and confidence to meet the challenges of leadership.

Every session in this programme has left me saying ‘wow!’ and provided me with new knowledge, given me fresh ways to address difficult situations or just helped me to look at them in a different way.

January’s three-day, in-person sessions were, in a practical sense, I think probably the most valuable I’ve experienced so far. They further confirmed for me the kind of leader I am, the leader I want to be and have given me the tools, not only to put those skills into action, but also to demonstrate to my colleagues the true meaning and potential value of nurse leadership.

Heather Richardson, Director of Academic Learning and Action, St Christopher’s CARE, along with guest speaker, Jessica Pryce-Jones, challenged us to think about the kind of leaders we are and the respective skills of leaders and of managers.

We explored the very concept of management and leadership for Advanced Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Consultants, the tensions between them and how we can navigate them. In fact, we collaborated on creating our own definitions.

Leadership, we said, is about inspiring and guiding teams to a shared vision, and management is focused on organising resources to execute the tasks necessary to achieve that vision.

These sessions were particularly timely for me as we’re in the process here at St Barnabas of taking the team on a journey to appreciate the scope of our practice as nurses, the potential voice we can have and the true value of nurses as leaders.

During my training, we broached the concept of leadership, but with a management focus, with a placement in our third and final year. After qualifying there was little training available to develop and build on these skills. Consequently, I think there is a risk of misunderstanding what clinical leadership can look like – seeing it as limited to managing positions.

Branching out to bigger picture stuff can seem alien and inconsequential to everyday work. It’s always going to be a bumpy ride navigating new concepts. But as nurses I want to see us contribute more to decision-making around service delivery. With our experience at the coalface, we have so much to offer, beyond just the clinical in terms of using that knowledge to influence the bigger picture.

I’ve decided to take a small step backwards to enable me to establish the ANP role within the team. So, to enable that, I’ve stepped down from my associate nurse consultant role and we’re focusing for the time being on embedding the concept and practice of advanced practitioners, advocating that through workshops and through our everyday work.

My goal for the rest of the year – up to the end of the programme – is to use all the skills I glean on the programme to take everyone on that journey. I’m also hoping we’ll be able to develop some of our competencies to establish a pathway for ANP’s and associate nurse consultants for those that want to take that route. That will feel like success and will be a great legacy for the programme.


This blog was first published on the St Christopher’s website and is republished here with permission.


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