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What makes an effective Ward Manager?. Steve Flanagan Regional Director RCN North West. The Context:. Examples of excellence Unparalleled investment in NHS Continuing & sustained media portrayal of poor practice & standards.

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what makes an effective ward manager

What makes an effective Ward Manager?

Steve Flanagan

Regional Director

RCN North West.

the context
The Context:
  • Examples of excellence
  • Unparalleled investment in NHS
  • Continuing & sustained media portrayal of poor practice & standards
“If things go well there is no need for a call to action. When things go horribly wrong something has to change…..and problems are more likely to make the headlines”

Nursing Standard Editorial;

May 28th 2008

in the same issue
In the same issue:-
  • Patient Campaigner calls for CCTV to monitor hand washing practices
  • Baroness Knight accuses Trusts of being blind to patient starvation issues
  • Sir Michael Parkinson, National Dignity Ambassador, “some nurses behave like jailers toward their patients”.
rcn campaigns
RCN Campaigns
  • 2006:Wipe it Out (MRSA)
  • 2007:Nutrition Now
  • 2008:Dignity- at the heart of everything we do
“All too often Nurses are guilty of worshipping at the altar of silent acquiescence”

Reg Pyne, Former Director of Professional Conduct. UKCC

the difference between the two extremes
The Difference between the two extremes?
  • Good Management and Leadership
  • Doing things right –v- Doing the right things
good ward managers must
Good (Ward) Managers must:
  • Be Politically Aware: Speak the language/learn who/how to influence
  • Be Clinically knowledgeable and credible
  • Manage by example – Be a Role Model, Inspire and motivate
  • Be visible – know what the team is doing
  • Pay attention – More Listening
  • Communicate – Empowering people
  • Delegate – Not abdicate
Be clear about performance standards and hold team members to account- challenging poor performance
  • Assertive – securing the right resources
  • Be honest when things go wrong -learning-v-blame culture
  • Have control over ward resources eg; cleaning, mealtimes
  • Network – Locally, Regionally, Nationally, Internationally
  • Be supported by senior managers


  • Based on research by Milton Olson, naturalist
  • The uplift draft from each goose when flying in “V” formation
  • increases flying range by 71%
  • Lesson for teamwork:
  • By significant co-ordination and working together the
  • productivity rate is increased dramatically.

2. As lead goose of the skein (v) tires they rotate

Lesson for teamwork:

Workload should be evenly distributed

Too much reliance should never be placed on one individual

3. Geese honk from the rear as encouragement/warning/information

Lesson for leadership:

Communication is critical to ensure effective teamwork and

leadership, geese view the honking as encouragement and not

in any sense of barracking


4. If a goose is wounded or is unwell, two geese accompany

their friend to the ground and will remain until the goose

has either recovered or dies

Lesson for leadership:

The need to be supportive and sensitive to the needs of others

particularly in times of crisis is paramount. Working in the

Health Service generally, and nursing specifically, is a highly

pressurised and stressful occupation. The need to support

each other has never been greater.