arrow_up-blue blog branches consultations events facebook-icon facebook-icon2 factsheet forum-icon forum hands key link location lock mail measure menu_plus news pdf pdf2 phone policies publications related search share subjectguide twitter-icon word instagram-icon youtube-icon

Breaking down barriers, driving up standards

22 February 2009
This document sets out key features of the current context of the ward sister and charge nurse role for quality patient care in England. Based on focus group discussions with around 90 ward sisters and charge nurses drawn from different locations and patient care settings, the findings suggest much could be done to improve the clinical leadership role of ward sisters and charge nurses and thus improve patient care. To this end the report makes a number of recommendations which the RCN believes are necessary in order to strengthen this pivotal nursing role. Further details of this document can be found in 'Publications and research' section of this website.

The RCN believes the findings of our investigation strongly suggest work is needed in several areas to strengthen and support the ward sister role.This will be important for nursing, for patients, and for NHS trusts who will be judged on the quality of care they provide.The RCN has therefore put together a set of recommended actions (for England only) to this end.These aim to gain recognition and acknowledgement of the value and impact of the ward sister role for high-quality care, and put in place the necessary measures to strengthen and support the ward sister role for care quality.Our recommended actions are for a variety of stakeholders to take forward including the executive board teams of NHS trusts, government health policy advisers, nurse leaders, nursing organisations and ward sisters themselves.

If you have any comments or wish to contribute further, please email

Page last updated - 23/03/2017