Nutrition - leadership

Leadership qualities

Every member of the nursing team can display leadership qualities (Royal College of Nursing 2009). Engagement and relationship skills are fundamentally important in leading improvement (Health Foundation 2011). In the context of nutrition and hydration this encompasses the following:

Leadership in nutrition and hydration

Different approaches to leadership are appropriate to different contexts of care, or need to be blended in different situations. High performing leaders recognise this and are adept at applying a range of strategies.

Whatever the context of care the following activities should be integrated into daily routines. 

The Care Quality Commission report (CQC 2011) looking at standards of dignity and nutrition in hospitals identified leaders as crucial to setting the norms for conduct and reducing variability in practice. Within the hospital setting the leadership role of the ward sister / charge nurse is critical in providing this role and in establishing a culture of learning and development and an appropriate care environment (Royal College of Nursing 2011; University of Birmingham Health Services Management Centre 2011).

See also the relevant sections in the  online resource Patient safety and human factors:


These resources were last accessed on 5 February 2015. Some of them are in PDF format - see how to access PDF files.

CQC (2011) Dignity and nutrition inspection programme: national overview. London: CQC.

Health Foundation (2011) What’s leadership got to do with it? Exploring links between quality improvement and leadership in the NHS. London: Health Foundation.

McKenzie C, Manley K (2011) Leadership and responsive care: Principles of Nursing Practice H (PDF 94KB). Nursing Standard 25(35) 4 May pp.35-37.

Royal College of Nursing (2009) RCN Learning Zone: Exploring leadership. Learning Zone website [you will need your RCN membership number to access this].

Royal College of Nursing (2010) Principles of Nursing Practice. Principle H. RCN website.

Royal College of Nursing (2011) Making the business case for ward sisters/team leaders to be supervisory to practice (PDF 2.22MB). London: RCN.

University of Birmingham Health Services Management Centre (2011) Time to care? Responding to concerns about poor nursing care. Policy Paper 12. Birmingham- University of Birmingham: HSMC.