Trailblazing graduates set their sights on leadership roles in nursing and midwifery

The future leaders in midwifery and nursing are set to be the first to graduate from trailblazing courses at the University of Leicester. 

Launched in 2018, the four year undergraduate master’s degrees MSci Midwifery with Leadership and MSci Nursing with Leadership are the only ones of their kind in the UK to have leadership modules at their heart. Their aim is to give graduates a better, and swifter, chance of progressing to senior roles.

The programmes were developed after two local NHS Trusts – University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust and Leicestershire Partnership Trust (LPT) – asked the University for support in developing their future midwifery and nursing workforce, specifically with enhanced leadership knowledge and skills.

There had been a number of public enquiries into health and maternity care in the country recommending that leadership should be embedded at all levels. This, coupled with an ageing workforce and a desire for increasing the business, entrepreneurial and communication acumen within the professions, triggered the development of the courses.       

“The midwifery and nursing professions need leaders who have vision, are articulate and get their voice heard at the highest level - our programmes prepare the next generation of midwives and nurses to do just that,” said Jayne Marshall, Foundation Professor of Midwifery, who is Deputy Head of the University’s School of Healthcare, and co-architect of the courses.

“Students have come on the course as they have aspirations to become future leaders of the midwifery or nursing professions, and it’s great to see the first cohort nearing the end of their studies, and many with offers of employment already.

"We anticipate their career trajectory into a future leadership role will be swifter, thanks not only to their enhanced leadership knowledge and skills, but also by virtue of graduating with a master’s degree. Usually the depth of leadership knowledge and skills are acquired post-qualification, which make our courses so unique and our graduates more attractive to employers.”

Leadership roles the graduates could eventually fill include clinical-based specialist roles such as consultant midwife or nurse, and head/director of nursing or midwifery. They could also include academic posts, including leading midwifery/nursing research and Higher Education lecturers. 

 The programmes include a leadership module in each year and students also work closely with NHS leaders in Leadership Learning Sets. The students also take a leadership internship with organisations such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Royal College of Midwives and NHS England, or with specialist teams, consultant nurses and midwives.