Exploring the Contribution and Impact of Master’s Education for Leadership Development in Adult General Nursing: A Scoping Review.

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The aim of this scoping review was to explore the evidence relating to master’s education for leadership development in adult/general nurses who are not in advanced practice or leadership roles and its impact on practice.

The importance of effective, clinical leadership in nursing and health care, has been highlighted following failings reported by Public Inquiries both nationally and internationally. While initiatives have been implemented to address these, the provision of safe, quality care remains problematic. Complex care requires highly skilled professionals to challenge and lead improvements in practice. Master’s education results in graduates with the skills and confidence to make these changes and to become the clinical leaders of the future.

An a priori scoping review protocol was developed by the review team. This was used to undertake searches across CINAHL Ultimate; Medline (Ovid), Scopus and ProQuest Complete databases, chosen due to their relevance to the subject area. Articles were limited to those in the English Language, peer reviewed and published since 2009. Citation chaining via the reference lists of frequently identified articles were also searched. A further search for relevant grey material using the same relevant keywords and phrases was performed using the limited, Trip Database and Google Scholar.

Eight articles were selected for data extraction, and these were published between 2011 and 2019. The articles were predominantly from the UK and Europe, with a focus either on master’s education or on aspects of leadership in nursing and healthcare. Themes identified: a) The need for clinical leadership; b) master’s education for clinical leadership skills; and c) master’s education for professional and organisational outcomes.

The scoping review identified that there is a need for strong clinical leadership in the practice setting. Evidence shows that effective nursing leadership can improve patient outcomes as well as enhancing workplace culture and staff retention. The review has shown that the skills required for clinical leadership are those produced by master’s education. Studies of the impact of master’s education are often self reported and tend to focus on nurses in advanced practice roles. More research is required into master’s education for adult/ general nurses not in advanced roles and in examining the link between master’s education and improved patient, professional and organisational outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103697
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Aug 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This review has been completed as part of a PhD, partially funded by the Department of Health NI.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023

Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Ltd.


  • Leadership
  • Leadership Development
  • Leadership skills
  • nursing leadership
  • Master’s nurse education
  • Nursing master’s
  • Outcomes of education
  • patient outcomes
  • Professional outcomes
  • scoping review
  • Leadership development
  • Patient outcomes
  • Master's nurse education
  • Nursing master's
  • Scoping review
  • Leadership skills.Nursing leadership


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