Good leadership means better care

“Show me the environment and I will tell you the kind of leadership in that place. If staff are smiling and welcoming it’s because the leader is smiling and welcoming. Staff follow the leader as role model, and the leader’s relationship with their team translates into making such a big difference to the care provided.”

Wendy Olayiwola, National Maternity Lead at NHS England and NHS Improvement

For safe, kind, effective care to be delivered, good leaders are crucial.

Leadership covers a wide range of behaviours and ways of working such as speaking up to advocate for patients or to raise concerns, supporting teams working in pressured environments and creating inclusive working environments for people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Leaders can be found at all levels in nursing and midwifery. All leaders promote effective management and act as positive role models for best practice in the delivery of care by teams and organisations. 

What leadership means to me

Leaders in nursing and midwifery share their reflections on what leadership means for them, and how good leadership supports teams to deliver the best possible care.

What do nursing and midwifery leaders think is important to look after their teams, and help them deliver the best possible care? Read the below reflections to learn from a range of views and experiences.

How leadership supports better care

Fortune Mhlanga

Fortune Mhlanga is a Deputy Head of Nursing in a Mental Health Directorate, Professional Nurse Advocate and the South East Lead for the CNO, CMidO Black and Minority Ethnic Strategic Advisory Group. She believes it’s essential for leaders to be able to identify and nurture talent in others, in order to build a strong team and achieve an organisation’s goals.

Fortune says leaders must create an inclusive environment for a flourishing diverse workforce. This also comes down to how leaders listen and respond to concerns.

“A sense of belonging and being included is really important to me, as somebody from the global majority. A leader always needs to consider, how can I make people feel part of my team, of the institution I’m leading, of the decisions being made? Your behaviours can make people feel they matter and are valued.

“It’s about how you talk to people and importantly, how you listen and respond when people come to you with concerns.”

It is also vital that leaders demonstrate cultural intelligence to understand their teams, as well as the people their teams care for.

Fortune said: “In nursing and midwifery where you have so many internationally educated or internationally recruited people, leaders need to have cultural intelligence in terms of equality, diversity and inclusion so they can best support the diverse workforce.”

Fortune urges leaders to be more proactive in supporting internationally educated nurses and midwives to reach senior positions.  

“We’ve heard enough about people being excluded or discriminated against. At this point, good leaders are asking, ‘what are we doing about this?’ If we are saying someone is not ready to go into a senior leadership position, let’s understand what their needs are, and create leadership programmes to support them so the picture can change in a positive way.

Linked to this is the importance the NMC’s standards place on cultural awareness and how this can impact on outcomes for people receiving care :

“Anti-racism should be a priority for leaders today. They need to be more proactive, stand up and make it count. Let’s have more allyship training – a lot of our colleagues are not intentionally discriminating – they need help to understand some of the prejudices they may not have been aware of.

“If somebody feels they are being treated differently, because of the way they look or how they sound, we need to listen and believe them. Let’s validate how people are feeling, otherwise people stop reporting it and nothing gets done.”

For Fortune, good leaders never lose sight of people as individuals, and always take into account the feelings of others.

“It’s really important that leaders think about people’s health and wellbeing, have the right wellbeing support services in place, and listen and support people.”

“Seeing people as humans goes a long way. Maya Angelou said ‘people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'”

Fortune Mhlanga is Deputy Head of Nursing in Buckinghamshire. She is passionate about ensuring everyone feels valued and included as this impacts staff well-being in a huge way and there is a direct link between staff well-being and quality and safety of care. Also, teams where everyone has s sense of belonging perform better, have a better safety culture where people feel psychologically safe to raise concerns and improve care. Fortune has a background in mental health nursing

Lincoln Gombedza

Award-winning Learning Disability Nurse Lincoln Gombedza knows that listening to his team is an essential part of effective leadership Staff who feel supported feel better able to deliver good care and speak up when things go wrong.

“A good leader is a good listener who allows their team members to be themselves, to express their ideas and opinions. A leader is someone who creates opportunities for others. I believe in nurturing potential for everybody, whether it is teaching new skills, encouraging the expression of ideas or advocating for colleagues.”

Lincoln’s ethos includes listening to and supporting everyone, whatever their role or background, and helping the team to meet the diverse needs of communities.

“Demonstrating leadership means engaging with colleagues in a positive and constructive way so we can build relationships regardless of who they are or if they have a different background.

“I want to support every single person who comes in the Trust. Being inclusive means including everybody to meet diverse needs. There are different communities but for me, being there for everybody means seeing people as individuals.”

Lincoln knows the wellbeing of his team is important in order for them to deliver the best possible care for people – particularly in difficult periods such as winter. He makes sure his door is always open and has set up a support booking system for staff members, but he also offers alternatives.

“Being accessible and offering support when it’s needed is so important,” he said. “I am going into clinical areas as well, to offer that 1:1 support to our preceptors. I also signpost people to our wellbeing teams.

“This initiative has been getting so much feedback – whether it’s a struggling student thinking about withdrawing from a course or a staff member, they just want someone to listen. I believe our workforce needs this support.” 

Placements can be demanding for students and they need plenty of support from their supervisors and assessors in order to learn effectively and deliver good care on their placements.

 “The real work is meeting the student who is struggling and asking them how they are they feeling today. And letting them know it’s OK, we are going to help.

“We need to harness those students who are motivated and encourage them to go far – and help them stay in a positive frame of mind that’s focused on our patient experience.”

Lincoln says he was fortunate to have good support as a student, and wants to pass that support on to his team now. Good preceptorship when they join the register can also support with staff retention and good care.

“We all need that support to help us to see our way through things and that’s what I’m trying to do. My vision is to create a strong network so all our students feel better known and understood, are helped to find their purpose and supported to be the best they can be.”

Lincoln Gombedza is an award-winning Learning Disability Nurse with a passion for integrating digital technologies in nursing and through his work developing education and training programmes for North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust. Lincoln is a member of the NHS Digital Decision-Making Council, and involved in the Florence Nightingale Global Innovation and Entrepreneur Group, among others.

You can learn more about the importance of student supervision and assessment by watching our animation at Standards for student supervision and assessment - The Nursing and Midwifery Council (

Martyn Davey

Martyn Davey was one of the first wave of trainee Nursing Associates and now works in General Practice.

For Martyn, good leadership means focusing on the outcomes, and treating everyone fairly. 

“I think great leaders don't set out to be leaders, they set out to make a difference and help others.

“They’re the ones that treat everyone the same, regardless of their job title or perceived status.” 

Listening to patients and speaking up for them is a core skill for leaders at all levels, he says – and crucial for delivering the best possible care.

“Leadership is especially important when it comes to the people in your care - being their voice when they most need it. It can take courage to speak up for what you know is right for the patient or for your team, particularly if you’re not in a senior role – but speaking up is real leadership.”

Martyn believes leaders need to provide close support to teams working under pressure. Small actions and fostering a strong team spirit goes a long way.

“Teams caring for very vulnerable people often find themselves in highly stressful situations,” he said. “They need their leader to ensure they’re supported emotionally and physically and managed in the best interest for everyone, including the patient and staff.

Experience supporting patients with mental health issues, cancer diagnoses or people dealing with bereavement has taught Martyn to ‘find the happiness amongst the sad bits.’

“At very difficult times, a leader will help their team to find that diamond and buff it so it sparkles. Sometimes the small things can make such a big difference. I remember coming out of a stressful situation to find the leader waiting with a cup of tea, ready to talk. That human approach is key.

“At the end of a tough shift, you wait for that last person to come through the door, and then we all go out together.”

Leaders need to be accessible to their teams and encourage their desire to learn – this helps teams to deliver the best possible care for people

“Leaders understand there is no such thing as a silly question, and it’s okay to ask. If you've got a question, just ask and I'll help guide you in any way I can. For me, that’s what a leader is.

“Good leaders recognise it’s important to support everyone and help when needed. Enabling others is the most important part, it’s what nursing is all about. I always refer to that Marvel quote: ‘with great power comes great responsibility’.”

Martyn Davey was one of the first wave of trainee Nursing Associates. He now works in General Practice and is a Visiting Lecturer at Birmingham City University. Martyn set up a national network supporting more than 5,000 TNA and RNAs on Facebook.

Paul Edwards

As Director of Clinical Services at Dementia UK, Paul Edwards helps to ensure services provide safe and effective care and support to people with dementia and their families. 

For Paul, prioritising people is fundamental and that means ensuring staff have the support they need to care for people as well as they can – especially through difficult periods such as Winter Pressures.

“Nurse leaders need to prioritise how they treat their most vital resource – their staff. If you don’t look after nurses, especially newly-qualified nurses, and give them support and guidance, then you’ll never see their full potential.”

Paul feels leaders need to advocate for staff to be able to access the support they need – and that this has a direct link to them being able to provide safe care for patients.

“Giving nurses the chance to share and reflect, and get support for the challenges they face, has been absolutely vital in my experience. If nurses can’t access clinical supervision and support, they can get burnt out. And this carries a risk to patients.

“As a leader you realise you have to make that happen, it doesn’t just happen naturally. So you have to take away the barriers, be brave at the boardroom table, and build it into your operational plans.”

“Being conscious of moral injury is part of my leadership values. If we don’t make the space for nurses to have the right support and supervision, the teams we support can become very susceptible to moral injury and this has an impact for patients. As leaders, we let nurses down when we don’t provide that space.

“Leaders need to understand clinical supervision and support as a priority – you can’t deliver safe, effective care without it.”

Paul sees creating a supportive culture with an ‘open door’ to leaders as key to enabling learning. That means demonstrating your humanity and treating people with respect so they realise there’s a leadership culture that cares for them.

“The dementia specialist Admiral Nurses  on our helpline and in our clinics have access to an immediate debriefing after a challenging call or appointment,” he said. “They can check how they did, and get support.  That’s not usual – and leaders need to make it more usual. Being able to chat and reflect really helps with the complex situations nurses are dealing with.

“We also encourage nurses to support each other. If I’ve got a really challenging situation, I’ll find the person who knows more than I do, and ask them. As a leader you think you should know it all and can’t ask anybody else, especially someone junior to you – that’s nonsense.

“Nurse leaders have to prioritise creating those cultures of support and learning or you’re not only missing a trick, you’re putting patients at more risk than they need to be.”

Paul is a nurse who specialises in dementia care, with 25 years’ experience working across the NHS, academia and the independent sector. At Dementia UK he is responsible for the development, governance and growth of clinical services, helping to ensure services are run to provide safe and effective care and support to people with dementia and their families.




Shona Hamilton

Shona Hamilton, a Consultant Midwife in Northern Ireland, believes leaders need to help their teams to advocate for the women in their care.

“Leadership is about showing we advocate for women and they have choice. And enhancing our midwives’ knowledge, skills and confidence to provide that care.

“Advocating for women is a key part of the midwife’s role. Being that woman’s voice in her journey is vital to what we do, and having that partnership with women is the joy of being a midwife.”

For Shona, providing positive feedback is beneficial to midwives and the care they provide.

“It’s important to pause, and give positive feedback, saying ‘that woman really appreciated what you did for her’. We can’t expect midwives to provide high quality, safe care unless they feel psychologically safe themselves.”

Shona aims to be accessible and build good relationships so that individuals and teams feel able to speak up with any concerns. 

“Good communication and team work is critical. It’s key for leaders to foster positive relationships with their team because you want people to be able to speak out. And you need to listen effectively and be responsive.” 

“We talk a lot about women in maternity services being heard, and that’s really important. The same goes for our staff.

“As a leader, your team needs to feel safe and secure that you are an accountable leader, and you are going to do the right thing.”

In Shona’s view, the NMC’s standards and Code could help teams working in pressured environments to feel supported

“We need to bring the Code and standards to life, to show how we can use them to enhance what we do or for guidance, to look at our services to see how we are meeting the standards.”

Shona thinks self-reflection can help leaders learn to accept challenge.

“It can take time to learn to accept challenge and not to see it as a personal attack. Leaders need to recognise they don’t know everything all the time, sometimes change comes from the ground up.

“Self-reflection is important: ‘Am I really listening?’ ‘Am I allowing this challenge or cutting it off?’. I don’t think we can champion reflective supervision if we are not prepared to be that practitioner ourselves.” 

She wishes for all midwives to be able to receive the support that was critical to her own career progression.

“Early in my career there was a very senior midwife in Northern Ireland who provided me with a listening ear, encouragement and challenging feedback. That support is so beneficial when you’re trying to progress and become a leader, we should look to provide that to midwives over the course of their careers.

“Midwifery is such a lovely career and it’s hugely rewarding – I can’t say that strongly enough. There is something about being there at that moment of birth and new life, of helping create a new family that is really very lovely.

“There really is nothing like it.”

Shona Hamilton is consultant midwife at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and Queens University Belfast. She qualified as a nurse and then a midwife and has worked in a variety of posts within nursing and midwifery during her 30 year career. Her professional and academic interests lie in public health, intrapartum care and perinatal mental health.

Wendy Olayiwola

Wendy Olayiwola is National Maternity Lead for Equality, NHS England and NHS Improvement, and President of the Nigerian Nurses Charitable Association UK.

For Wendy, good leadership is about embracing and valuing diversity. That means talking to your team, and taking an interest in different cultures and backgrounds.

“The job for leaders is very simple: know your team - who they are and their background, appreciate them and their culture,

“You don’t have to know everything. All you need to do is respect them and talk to them. Facilitate the conversation for all staff – whether they’re from Scotland or a country in Africa – to be able to talk about their culture and values, what their beliefs are.”

Wendy feels good leaders go further, to help empower their teams to be aware of the cultural needs of the people they care for. This helps nursing and midwifery professionals to really tailor care to the needs of the person they’re caring for

“This empowers staff to talk about what is not talked about. When we have that culture it in turn empowers the team to have those conversations with people in their care, which is so beneficial to their experience and to safety.

“Being compassionate should cut across everything we do. Leaders have to learn how to provide fair and equitable support to all colleagues, from all backgrounds.”

Wendy believes the care patients receive is directly linked to the behaviour that the leader role models.

“Show me the environment and I will tell you the kind of leadership in that place. If staff are smiling and welcoming it’s because the leader is smiling and welcoming. Staff follow the leader as role model, and the leader’s relationship with their team translates into making such a big difference to the care provided.” 

For Wendy, a diverse population and workforce needs diverse leaders who respect the contributions of the whole team.

“We have a diverse workforce and population, if there is also diversity at the leadership level it will flourish in the workforce and we can reflect the culture and values of the communities we serve, in the care we provide. It reduces the disparity in equality that we currently have.

“A diverse and multi-disciplinary leadership that listens to different perspectives brings together knowledge and expertise to provide culturally sensitive care.

“A diverse team is an excellent team and different values and opinions make it colourful and beautiful. Diverse teams have so much positive impact for the people in our care and their families.

Wendy Olayiwola is a registered nurse and midwife with more than two decades serving community and public health. She has received multiple awards including the British Empire Medal for services to the NHS and Equality during the Covid-19 response. Wendy is passionate about promoting equalities among Black and minority ethnic groups and supporting and empowering nurses and midwives to provide culturally sensitive and holistic care for women and their families.

Zoe Fry

Zoe Fry, a registered nurse and Director in adult social care, believes creating an inclusive, open culture is fundamental to good leadership and has a direct impact on care for residents.

“Good leadership relies on communication, and creating an open culture that spans the whole adult social care community.  

“It’s about involving people in their care planning so they are at the centre of everything that happens. It’s making sure team members know what’s going on and bringing them on the journey with you.   

“As a leader, it’s also imperative to get the right relationships and communication channels between members of your multi-disciplinary team. Building relationships across all members of the health and social care team benefits care for residents.”

In Zoe’s view, leaders need to set an example and enable supportive teams working in pressured environments.  

“You don’t know everything people have going on in their lives, in addition to any work pressures. Good leaders make time to ask team members how they are doing, if they need help with anything, and allow team members to ask each other those questions as well. I believe ‘it’s OK not to be OK’.”

Zoe believes there is more potential to involve and support the wider community in adult social care.

“Debriefing is incredibly important. It may involve revisiting an incident weeks or even months later. Consider including the community – following an incident, we offered group counselling and invited relatives to attend, too – they’re very much part of the team.

“Everyone benefits when you bring in the community. Families can play a critical role and they also gain a greater understanding and ability to support a loved one. Volunteers are also important, and they aren’t used enough.”

She believes acknowledging where you need help is core to good multidisciplinary working that makes sure people receive the care they need.

“To achieve good multidisciplinary working you need to build confidence on all sides.  There’s a need to let down barriers and show vulnerabilities.  Nurses in adult social care deal with a wide range of situations – you can’t know everything. We should be proud of what we do, and call on professional expertise when we need it.

“Ultimately, people need to involve the right person at the right time to ensure safety. Good leaders build relationships that enable teams to contact specialist nurses or consultants if they need to.”

In Zoe’s view, good delegation is vital to empower teams and to ensure patient safety.

“Good delegation improves safety. If leaders don’t delegate effectively, they risk burn out for themselves, and losing the respect of their team who are not empowered to take things forward.  

“Recognise what people can do, and give them the support and tools to do it. It doesn’t have to be another nurse or carer. If you have a chef who is amazing why not have them lead on nutrition and hydration within the home?

“It’s about delegating to the right people, and enabling them to do what they do really well.”

She thinks it’s important for people in leadership roles to have support from peer networks.

“I’d like to see more informal coaching and support across adult social care organisations. I recommend leaders find that person or group they can talk to because they need support too.”

Zoe Fry OBE is a Director of the Outstanding Society Community Interest Company who shares and celebrates best practices across Social Care while helping others improve. A registered nurse, she started her career in the NHS before purchasing a nursing home and achieving Outstanding ratings from the CQC. In 2023 Zoe was awarded an OBE in the Kings Birthday Honours List in recognition for Services in Social Care and Services to Nursing.

Karen Bonner

Karen Bonner is Chief Nurse at Buckingham Healthcare NHS Trust and feels passionate and privileged to be a nurse.

For Karen, leadership occurs at all levels in organisations, and takes many forms.

“I believe we’re all leaders and leadership comes at every level.”

“For me, being compassionate, open, authentic, approachable and inclusive are the most important leadership traits along with being willing to evolve and adapt.”

“As a leader it’s important to surround yourself with people who are really good at what they do – better than you in some ways. They are here to advise and support the leader with their expertise, and the leader supports them to do their jobs well, and learns from them at the same time.”

In Karen’s view, the NMC’s Code and standards provide a guide for nurses and midwives in all situations.

“The health service is all about people so it’s right that they are also central to our standards which underpin what every nurse and midwife does, at all levels in an organisation. The standards are inter-connected, they provide a national framework people in our profession can lead from, and work from.”

Karen sees a direct link between good leadership and patient care.

“Leadership is integral to good care. If you lead well and look after your colleagues, your patients will get good care. People who feel valued will work to the best of their ability.”

“As you become a more senior leader there’s a feeling you can get further away from the patient – you have to understand how much you continue to influence their care. I hold to the idea if I can no longer be hands-on with patients, I am still able to do that by appointing the best people and leading in a way that enables those giving direct care to do their best. I call it my tentacles!

“And I make myself visible – leaders have to engineer their time to be visible and accessible.”

Karen thinks leaders need to be present, and honest in order to best support teams working under pressure.

“When teams are working under pressure, a leader needs to be present, acknowledge the reality of a difficult time and share honest reflections. Show compassion and humanity – it enables teams to speak up.”  

“It’s for leaders to inspire and motivate people, asking ‘how do we work together to enable us to give our best, and look after ourselves at the same time?’”

“Make sure to thank people for working through difficult times.”

Additionally Karen believes leaders have to support professionals who arrive from come from other countries to join the UK workforce:

“The NHS is built on internationally educated nurses and midwives and we have to challenge ourselves to think about how wider society supports these people, holding ourselves responsible for the way they are integrated and how they are treated.”

“It’s important for us to remember we need them, we ask them to come, and we should show understanding and gratitude for the sacrifices they’re making. They’ve left their loved ones, their people to be here, and care for our communities.”

“There aren’t many Chief Nurses from diverse backgrounds and I don’t know what it’s like to come to the UK from a different culture. I know what it was like for my parents losing loved ones overseas, and not being able to be there with them. I remember not being accepted for the colour of my skin as a little girl. The White British experience will be different - that’s why listening, really hearing people’s experiences, and learning is important.”

Karen Bonner is Chief Nurse and Director of Infection Prevention and Control at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. She is a Member of the General Advisory Council at the Kings Fund, a member of the Nurse Executive Council at the Beryl Institute and a Trustee of Helpforce – gaining recognition as a Burdett Hero by the Burdett Trust for Nursing, in 2022. Highly commended for her work in diversity and inclusion, she is regarded as one of the 50 most influential Black, Asian and minority ethnic people in health.

Hilary Lloyd

Hilary Lloyd describes herself as ‘Proud Chief Nurse’ at South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The organisation has been on a leadership and improvement journey since she joined three years ago.

For Hilary, leading in challenging times calls for compassion, and courage.

“You have to have courage to show compassionate leadership when there may be lots of pressure to ‘fix things now’.  

“A more courageous approach is to improve the culture – that means working alongside people rather than in a ‘top down’ management style, having honest conversations and delivering difficult messages in a supportive way.

“If you allow teams to come up with their own solutions , you get a responsive, self-directed culture where teams are much more innovative.”

“Being authentic – true to your professional and personal values – is key for leaders. Your values as a nurse, together with your professional accountability and responsibility, come to the fore when you are tested through challenging times.”   

“As a Chief Nurse, it’s balancing being clear and directive, setting high standards but also being kind and compassionate, and brave enough to take everyone with you.”

“My job is simply to support people to be the best they can be and provide the best care. It’s making sure staff know they and their wellbeing are valued. Encouraging them to take a lunchbreak – it’s a small thing - but it’s really important.”

She considers psychological safety is crucial  to encourage teams to raise concerns.

“Leading teams is about creating psychological safety, and a compassionate culture. We’ve introduced a restorative learning culture approach where people are not afraid to report concerns and speak up. This makes patient care a lot safer – and if leaders know where there are concerns they can take steps to improve.” 

In Hilary’s view, collective leadership creates better solutions

“For me, leadership is all about improving care for patients, and collective and distributed leadership are really important.  It’s not one person, it’s all of us all working together, and in partnership with patients.”

“Shared governance and decision-making – it’s not telling people what to do – but working with them to support them – because they often know best how to fix it.”

“Because we’ve taken this approach, we’ve changed the culture, we’ve changed mindsets and invigorated people’s passion.  As a result, our work on nutrition and hydration has gone beyond anything we might have done had we taken a process approach.

“By enabling  teams to share decision making and ownership and accountability around care, they came up with so many ideas – from daily allocation of additional staff for  patients in need of assisted feeding, to encouraging people to focus on nutrition and hydration – our ‘Food for Thought’ and a ‘Sip Sip Hooray’ campaigns have become mantras. Most importantly, our patient survey results (including for nutrition) have gone up – something we’re really proud of.”

“When you get everyone involved in this way, people don’t feel there’s another new initiative they have to do, the initiative comes from them. For me, that’s the right approach  – we are all leaders, and the senior team is there to support the leaders to do the right thing.”

Hilary thinks supporting internationally-educated nurses is integral to a compassionate culture.

“It feels easier to support our internationally-educated nurses because we have a compassionate culture. When they arrive, we get their shopping for them – making sure they’ve got everything they need, and feel at home. We put on social events so they feel part of the community and are well-supported by their mentor and ward managers. We know recognising everyone’s culture is important. An international educated colleague recently said, ‘We’ve got our family at home but we’re part of the South Tees family.’”

Leaders need to role model good relationships to create good multi-disciplinary teams

“As a senior team we’ve got a responsibility to make sure we work well together, providing a role model for the rest of the organisation on multi-professional working. Together we promote the restorative and learning culture. It’s about respecting we’ve all got different strengths.”

Hilary believes collective leadership, with all staff working in partnership with patients, leads to better care.

“With shared leadership and decision-making you are going to the heart of the organisation  to make decisions. It’s brave, because it can feel as though you have less control – but it creates a richness – staff know they are supported to make decisions in partnership with patients. It makes patient care better, safer, and a happier experience.”

Hilary Lloyd is Chief Nurse at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust. She is also Chief Nurse Clinical Research Network NENC and a Visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland. Hilary qualified in 1989 and has held a number of nursing posts including in acute healthcare, education and research. Most recently she served as director of nursing, midwifery and quality at Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust.

Resources to support you

Our Code and standards can support all nurses, midwives and nursing associates to be good leaders. To learn more about some of the key themes covered in these case studies, you can also use the following NMC resources:



Being accountable means being open to challenge. It means accounting for and being held to account for your actions, and being able to confidently explain how you used your professional judgement to make decisions – even in complex and challenging situations.

To find out more, watch our Caring with Confidence animation


Nursing and midwifery professionals deliver fantastic care for people but no-one can do everything on their own. So, leaders need to know how to delegate safely and with confidence.

To find out more, watch our Caring with Confidence animation

Inclusive working and learning environments

Our leadership case studies show that being inclusive and challenging discrimination is crucial to providing the right environment for the best possible care.

Everyone has the right to dignity and respect, and to feel included. Professionals on our register should feel confident about challenging discrimination wherever they see it. To do this, they need leaders to create an environment where they feel safe to do this.

To find out more, watch our Caring with Confidence animation and read the anti-racism resource produced by NHS England, in partnership with NHS Confederation and the NMC.

Leadership at busy and difficult times

Good leadership is always important for delivering the best possible care – but these case studies show how that’s particularly important at busy and difficult times, such as during winter.

Last year we published a joint letter with the UK’s four chief nursing officers and the CQC to help leaders and professionals during winter pressures.

Listening and advocating for people you care for

Martyn and Shona both explained the importance of listening to the people you care for and advocating for their needs.

Our midwifery resources The best care happens in partnership explain why listening to and working in partnership with the women in your care is key to the person-centred midwifery care that every person has the right to expect. You can read the stories of women who have recently given birth and use our CARE aid to reflect on your practice.

Listening to people you care for and acting on what you hear is just as important for nurses and nursing associates as well.

Speaking up

Nurses, midwives and nursing associates are often best placed to recognise things that might create risk or cause harm to people.

We want you to feel confident about raising concerns, and speak up if you see something you feel isn’t right.

To find out more, read Shona’s case study above or watch our Caring with Confidence animation.

Supporting students and people new to the workforce

All nurses and midwifery professionals need the support of good leaders to be able to provide the best care they can. This is particularly true for students and people who are new to the register, as Lincoln and Fortune explain above.

Our Principles for Preceptorship help leaders welcome and integrate newly registered professionals into their new team and place of work. It helps these professionals translate their knowledge into everyday practice, grow in confidence and understand how to apply the Code in their day to day work.

And our Standards for Student Supervision and Assessment (SSSA) set out the roles and responsibilities of practice supervisors and assessors, and how they must make sure students receive high-quality learning, support and supervision during their practice placements. The resources on our SSSA page include an animation, a webinar and a link to our SSSA Supporting Information hub.