A Master Class for nursing unit managers: an Australian example

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AimTo design and provide a Master Class leadership course for nursing unit managers.BackgroundThe selection and development of nursing unit managers is important to the profession and to the units they manage given their critical role in staff retention. While many in these positions are well-qualified academically they may require ongoing professional development in a cycle of continuous learning that challenges and motivates them to maintain skill mastery.EvaluationA review of the literature found examples of a Master Class conducted in the arts but none in leadership development. The elements of a Master Class have been distilled from the literature and applied to the development of a programme for 18 nursing unit managers employed at four hospitals in an area health service in New South Wales (Australia). A Delphi survey using participants determined the 20 most important topics from which to construct the programme.ConclusionsThe programme was positively evaluated by participants in aspects such as allowing the expression of opinions, networking, stretching their minds and time to reflect on their own experiences. Nursing unit managers occupy a pivotal role in health care institutions. Investing resources into the ongoing development of their leadership skills may provide significant benefits for the individuals themselves, their staff and the organization.

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