Leading the leaders: scaffolded mentorship in clinical nursing through the leaders’ lens

Ms Sarah Borg,1, Ms Karen Taurima1, Ms Karen Robinson, Ms Simone Moodie1

1Department of Emergency Medicine, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woollongabba, Brisbane, Australia

Clinical leadership has long been recognised as critical for optimising patient safety, quality of care and interprofessional teamwork in busy and stressful healthcare settings(1).  Literature suggests that while nurses are increasingly proficient in emergency nursing technical skills, their training in and knowledge of clinical leadership skills is not always adequate to meet the demands(1).  There is a need to identify effective ways to sustain and develop nursing leaders.

The practices of nurse leaders can have positive impacts on nurse’s job satisfaction, emotional and physical wellbeing, organisational commitment, provision of quality patient care, as well as on developing and maintaining positive organisational culture(2). Studies of nurse leaders show that many attribute their success in leadership roles, in part, to the actions of influential others(3).  Mentoring has been identified as an invaluable tool to attract, develop and retain new nurse leaders.  Mentoring provides an opportunity for both the mentor and the mentee to engage in meaningful professional relationships with the goal of leadership development for all involved(3).

This presentation will outline the development of an ED nursing leadership framework and its implementation through a formal mentoring program aimed at nurses at all levels.  The ‘PODMASTERS’ Nursing Leadership Framework was developed by nursing staff at the PAH-ED and outlines the all-encompassing key leadership skills and attributes for future nursing leaders.  The framework is derived from leadership frameworks used nationally and internationally in various career fields; including healthcare, business, information technology, and public service.

Implementation of the ED ‘PODMASTERS Leadership Framework has been through a formal mentoring program structure, designed to cater for nurses at all levels and development needs. This presentation will outline the core components of the leadership framework and mentoring program, as well as the potential and realised benefits from its implementation.

  1. Husebo, S., & Olsen, O. Impact of clinical leadership in team’s course on quality, efficiency, responsiveness and trust in the emergency department. BMJOpen 2016,1-9.
  2. Sowatzky, J.A., & Enns, C.L. Exploring the key predictors of retention in emergency nurses. JNursManagement 2012, 20(5),696-707.
  3. Hodgson, A., & Scanlan, J. A concept analysis of mentoring in nursing leadership.  OpenJNursing 2013,3,389-394.


Karen Robinson began her nursing career in 1989. She has worked in the Princess Alexandra Hospital Emergency department for the last 18 years and is now a Clinical Nurse Consultant.  Karen’s professional interests lie in developing staff resilience and retention.  She loves working with such a highly motivated and successful team to develop breakthrough Emergency best practice nursing.

Simone graduated from University of Southern Queensland with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2011. She has worked at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for 6 years, 4 of those years in the Emergency Department. During her time in Emergency Simone has acted in a Clinical Nurse role and currently is now acting in the Associate Clinical Nurse Consultant position. Simone is enrolled in Graduate Certificate in Emergency Nursing. Simone has a strong interest in the quality and safety of clinical practices and also how our department can deliver the best patient care.