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Welcome to the RCM Leadership update page. On this page you will find links to useful resources for professional and personal development as well as links to useful articles and reports as they arrive.

What does a leader look like?

  • Authentic - Stands up for personal values and beliefs
  • Emotionally intelligent - Have a sense of self value and independence and takes personal responsibility for their own direction
  • Visionary - Able to inspire others to see the vision and to want to be part of it
  • Passionate - Demonstrates enthusiasm, energy and commitment and shares the passion
  • Self-effacing - Aware of themselves and able to blend humility with drive

There are many recorded traits of a leader and the passion that midwives have for the care of women and midwifery potentially places them in a strong leadership position. Although anecdotal evidence suggests that many midwives are reluctant to take on leadership roles. For some this is because they see their leaders as stressed and undervalued undertaking a wide ranging post for which they may feel under prepared. Others are reluctant to step too far into leadership as they feel it takes them away form the clinical care and women. Nonetheless – every midwife has a leadership role, in supporting women, colleagues, teams and the wider services. It is also important for all midwives to appreciate and understand the leadership role and direction the service is developing into – to support the midwives who are moving practice forward.

Leadership framework

This framework was developed by the Leadership Academy – for all staff working in the NHS. The rationale was to ensure that midwives, nurses and allied health professionals worked to and demonstrated the same leadership qualities. The RCM was given permission to adapt the framework to use examples which reflect midwifery practice. Click here for the RCM adaptation 
A management model Healthcare and Leadership model was produced by the Leadership Academy following the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffs. Click here for exec summary.

Consultant Midwives

Consultant midwives have been supporting practice for a number of years, although the approach to the role and how the role is executed varies. Click here to read more about the role.

Reviewing Maternity Services

Maternity services and midwifery care are continually under scrutiny – a common theme identified in many reports and reviews is poor or absent leadership. Each of the four countries has recently undertaken or in the process of reviewing maternity services – more information below. Leadership was a key element in the England review
The National Maternity Review Better Births (England) The full report can be downloaded from the NHS England website and the RCM response is here https://www.rcm.org.uk/national-maternity-review-for-england
The strategy for maternity in NI can be found here
The review in Scotland is underway. Click here to access>
Wales has had a Maternity Strategy for some time now and it was reviewed in light of the Maternity review in England – this was a light touch review but it was decided that there was no need to do more work/make changes as it remains fit for purpose.
See links to Maternity Strategy and Prudent Health Care below:

Leadership Development

Finding time for any study leave is particularly challenging and often access to leadership education can be seen as something which is just for the few who want to becomes HoMs. The RCM believe that all midwives should be able to develop their leadership skills, competence and expertise. Below are some events/courses/resources you may find useful

RCM i-learn

The on line learning platform for members has a number of resources to support leadership development.
There are two leadership development courses on i-learn:
  • Leadership; everybody’s business – this course may take 2+ hours to complete, particularly if you engage with the activities. The module is based on the original midwifery competence model which was developed for Heads of Midwifery – however, the model is transferable to all practice levels.
  • Leadership Framework; from theory to practice – this newly revised and updated course is based on the NHS Leadership Academy model and will take around an hour to complete. It takes the practitioner from student midwife to senior leader and gives examples of what might be expected at each level.
Other online courses can be found at the Leadership Academy
RCM also provide a number of face to face workshops for leadership development – in 2016 the focus was on Learning Lessons from Kirkup and Band 6 midwives' development.
Details of events can be found on the RCM website.

Labour Ward Leaders

The RCM, RCOG, NHSI and Atain developed and delivered four pilot leadership workshops for the labour ward leaders teams. The workshops brought together midwives and doctors who represented their wider leadership team. The team was asked to work on a quality improvement project which addressed safety in the labour ward.

The pilot programmes were based on findings from a survey completed by labour ward coordinators and obstetricians.

The evaluation of the pilot events can be found here. 

Each team was asked to present a poster which reflected their learning, development and achievements – the posterbook can be found here.

Feedback from events

“I have become more self aware and ware of responding to different situations”
“Be more open to others and opinions and values”
“Presented and taught in a way directly linked to my clinical practice”


Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?: What It Takes To Be An Authentic Leader
by Rob Goffee , Gareth Jones 2006
Leading at a Higher Level; Ken Blanchard 2010

Have you considered being a RCM fellow?                                                                                   

The RCM Fellowship scheme recognises individuals who provide exceptional leadership and deliver excellence in practice, education or research. RCM midwife members can apply to be considered for a fellowship and if successful, applicants can use the fellowship status to display their support for the RCM. Click here now to read more about RCM fellowship>

Need help?

For more information, please contact us at Education@rcm.org.uk