Chief Nursing Officer safer staffing fellowship programme

We have designed this programme to help trusts develop evidence-based approaches to effective staffing decisions, taking into account all elements that contribute to safe, effective care and great patient experience.

We have designed and launched this programme in collaboration with The Shelford Group, to ensure knowledge of  evidence based decision support tools such as the Safer Nursing Care Tools (SNCT) and the Mental Health Optimal Staffing Tool (MHOST) their development and operational application is consistently applied, using the evidence bases underpinning them.

This modular programme, now accredited to MSc level by Birmingham City University, is designed for part time study and features a strong focus on the workforce and safer staffing evidence based decision support tools.  Participants will have the opportunity to progress through a Post Graduate Certificate, a Diploma and on to a Master’s pathway.  Four cohorts of Fellows have now completed the Post Graduate Certificate level of the programme, with a further three cohorts due to complete their programme by autumn 2021.  The first PG Diploma cohort should complete their course by the end of 2021.

How will this programme help trusts?

The programme aims to:

  • promote broader insights into and develop comprehensive knowledge about existing and new clinical staffing models across all healthcare settings
  • enhance self-reflective awareness about your teaching and learning development in practice
  • create a geographically representative group of fellows, with specialist knowledge and skills to plan and implement evidence-based staffing reviews using toolkits, allowing evidence-based tools to be sustainable.

What does the programme consist of?

The programme will:

  • explore evidence-based staffing methods in relevant care settings e.g. Birthrate Plus, SNCT and professional judgement methods
  • enable learning in a workforce context, which is crucial for creating and maintaining focus, enthusiasm and momentum for intensive management and support (IMaS) staffing improvement programmes within NHS settings
  • give you opportunities to gain skills in providing clinical workforce and operational management expertise to trusts and arm’s-length bodies (ALBs)
  • enable learning about workforce planning and development in both academic and practice settings
  • challenge and support trust and ALB staff to identify the demand for staff in employment/deployment, ensuring safe, sustainable and productive staffing is in place
  • support workforce planning tool development and updates
  • focus on professional practice, allowing you to have a credible voice in your field and engage in open and supportive interaction with NHS colleagues, trust boards and ALBs, sharing meaningful best practice
  • help you gain access to workforce-specific online databases
  • develop your skills for working with staff in multiple organisations, with sometimes opposing objectives, to gain consensus.

Further information

For more information regarding the CNO safer staffing fellowship programme and future cohorts, please email

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