Explore these useful resources for professional and personal development

Welcome to the RCM Leadership update page. Here you'll find resources to enhance your leadership skills in the workplace, as well as useful articles and reports.

What does a leader look like?

  • Authentic - standing up for personal values and beliefs
  • Emotionally intelligent - with a sense of self value and independence, taking personal responsibility for their own direction
  • Visionary - the ability to inspire others to see the vision and to want to be part of it
  • Passionate - demonstrating enthusiasm, energy and commitment, as well as sharing their passion
  • Self-effacing - self-aware with the ability to blend humility with drive

There are many recorded traits of a leader. 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 underprepared. Others are reluctant to step too far into leadership as they feel it takes them away from clinical care.

Nonetheless, every midwife has a leadership role to play in supporting women, colleagues, teams and the wider services. It is also important for all midwives to appreciate and understand the leadership role and the direction the service is developing into, so they can support the midwives who are moving practice forward.

The Leadership Framework was developed by the Leadership Academy – for all staff working in the NHS. The rationale was to ensure that leadership standards were consistent for all midwives, nurses and allied health professionals. The RCM was given permission to adapt the framework to use examples which reflect midwifery practice.

The Healthcare Leadership Model was produced by the Leadership Academy following the Francis Inquiry into Mid Staffs. An Executive Summary is also available.

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.

Maternity services are under review across the UK, with leadership being a key element in the England review.

The full report can be downloaded from the NHS England website and the RCM response is below.

Summary of the main findings and recommendations

The RCM have produced a summary of the National Maternity Review for members.

Read the RCM commentary of the report

The RCM has strongly welcomed the review recommendations, in particular the focus on putting women at the centre of care whilst also acknowledging the need for maternity staff to work in positive, supportive cultures.

Whilst much of the language in the report around continuity, personalisation and choice is not dissimilar to the language of earlier reports, such as Maternity Matters and Changing Childbirth, this report addresses issues in a different way to previous policy documents. It provides a real opportunity to shape services differently and the RCM will be supporting members to take an active part in bringing about change.

This briefing outlines the RCM’s reaction to the report, its analysis of the key recommendations and what the next steps will be. Read the RCM Commentary of the National Maternity Review.

Download the strategy for maternity in Northern Ireland.

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 or make changes as it remains fit for purpose.

Leadership Development

Finding time for any study leave is particularly challenging and often access to leadership education can be seen as something which is reserved only for those who wish to become HoMs.

The RCM believe that all midwives should be able to develop their leadership skills, competence and expertise.

Below are some events, courses and resources that you may find useful.

i-learn is our online learning platform for members and it has a number of resources to support leadership development, including:

  • Leadership Framework; from theory to practice – this 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.

Bite-sized leadership modules include:

Browse other online courses at the Leadership Academy website.

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.

The workshops are designed to meet the needs of midwives and support workers – for those who are looking to step up into new roles or who simply want to be the best that they can be. More information on the workshops can be found in our Events section.

Feedback from events

“I have become more self aware and aware of responding to different situations.”

“[It has helped me to] be more open to others and [their] opinions and values.”

“[The events are] presented and taught in a way directly linked to my clinical practice.”

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. RCM has continued to deliver MDT workshops based on the pilot programmes.

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

Read the evaluation of the pilot events.

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.

For more information, please visit our Fellowship page.

Further reading:

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

Need more help?

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

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