A Leadership Development Programme for Regional Clinical Lead (RCL) Physiotherapists: Evaluation of Impact


The Nuffield Health Physiotherapy RCL team has expanded fourfold recently to reflect changing healthcare climates. RCL’s facilitate complex provision of hospital/clinic based Physiotherapy, triage-based Physiotherapy and Advanced Practice services through governance and operational/clinical leadership. As services evolve, preparing leaders to support the workforce during growth and increasing complexity becomes imperative. The RCL’s completed a Leadership Development Programme (LDP) to assure future Leadership quality and effectiveness. LDP consisted of three, half-day classroom-based sessions covering Collaboration Skills, Productivity and Leadership Development. The primary aim was:

· Assess the perceived and lived effectiveness of the LDP and establish impact on leadership behaviours.

A secondary aim was:

· Identify future learning needs and establish how the LDP is directed going forward


A two-stranded, mixed-methods programme evaluation methodology was used. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with a convenience sample of RCL’s. Interviews were transcribed verbatim (JB and CD) until saturation reached, and thus sampling concluded. Content analysis established categories and themes, which were checked by the group and agreement was reached. Themes established from interviews guided development of a questionnaire sent to all RCL’s (n=16). The questionnaire was voluntary and captured quantitative and qualitative data.


Results: 6 Semi-structured interviews were conducted (response: 37.5%). Content analysis identified three categories with subsequent themes; A: Session attributes. 1. Concise, 2. Self-development, 3. Self-awareness and reflection; B: Skills Developed. 1. Time management & productivity, 2. Assertiveness, 3. Team approach; C: Future Needs 1. Mentorship, 2. Consolidation & embedding learning, 3. Competency framework. 13 RCL’s completed the questionnaire (response: 81%). Primary aim:

· Rated highly valuable (mean 8.5 +/- 1.2, 10-point VAS) and recommendable (Net Promotor Score [NPS] +29, Detractors 5, Passives 10, Promotors 13).

· 100% agreed (39%) or strongly agreed (61%) a good opportunity for reflection.

· 100% agreed (46%) or strongly agreed (54%) a good development opportunity.

· 69% agreed (61%) or strongly agreed (8%) it improved leadership productivity and efficiency.

· 69% agreed it made them a better leader.

· 61% agreed it made them more assertive.

Secondary aim:

· 85% agreed (54%) or strongly agreed (31%) a leadership capability framework would be useful to benchmark learning.

· 100% agreed (31%) or strongly agreed (69%) touch-points with peers/senior leaders would be helpful to consolidate/embed learning.

· 54% agreed (23%) or strongly agreed (31%) a mentor would be useful.

Strong and consistent cross-over between responses to questionnaires and interviews witnessed.

Conclusion(s): The findings of this evaluation suggest a bespoke LDP is highly valuable, offers opportunity for reflection and influences positive leadership behaviour change. Constructive recommendations for the future LDP have also been identified

Cost and savings

No costs - all activity was undertaken within salaried hours.


LDP impact is two-fold. RCL’s highlighted behaviour change examples that led to improved interactions with team members. Improved productivity/efficiency was associated with reduced levels of stress, planning for anticipated difficult conversations improved outcomes and understanding psychological preference allowed adaptation to communication. These changes ultimately result in improved leadership and is hoped a wider impact will see knock-on effects to individuals and teams. This evaluation has also acted as a platform to guide future programme content and on-going development of the RCL team.

Top three learning points

No further information. 

Funding acknowledgements

This programme evaluation was unfunded. The authors are employees of Nuffield Health and all time used to design methodologies, collect data, analyse and write-up was completed within salaried hours.