Chief Nursing Officer Safer Staffing Fellowship Programme

NHS England, in collaboration with The Shelford Group, has designed the Chief Nursing Offer Safer Staffing Fellowship Programme to support our shared vision of embedding a sustainable, consistent approach to safer staffing in the NHS.

This is a robust educational programme taught by expert academics and practitioners and accredited to master of science level by Birmingham City University.

Aimed at healthcare leaders with workforce planning, delivery and assurance responsibilities, the programme aims to create a geographically representative group of fellows with specialist knowledge and skills, to plan and implement evidence-based staffing programmes for a variety of clinical specialties. This will ensure the continued progress of sustainable, evidence-based safer staffing skills within NHS trusts and support compliance with developing workforce safeguards.

Key learning in the programme includes:

  • the study of safer staffing principles
  • critical analysis of evidence-based tools
  • how to provide direct support, including training trust staff in the application of safer staffing tools
  • how to undertake a trust review of staffing
  • how to support the development of new specialty tools and advise on policy development
  • how to use staffing multipliers, activity analysis and carry out staffing assessments.

The Chief Nursing Offer Safer Staffing Fellowship Programme has fellows across England. If you want to connect with the fellow or fellows in your area, or you would like more information regarding the programme and future cohorts, please email

Chief Nursing Officer Safer Staffing Fellowship Programme – call for applications

The Chief Nursing Officer Safer Staffing Fellowship Programme/master of science in healthcare workforce planning, delivery and assurance is fully accredited at masters level with Birmingham City University and has been running successfully since 2019. We are currently running the tenth and eleventh cohorts at post graduate certificate level, alongside two post graduate diploma and two master of science level groups.

We are delighted to inform you that we are now able to offer places for two future cohorts in 2024, and give you the opportunity to sponsor a senior nurse or senior midwife to take part in the programme.


The programme is aimed at senior nurses and senior midwives from all clinical settings where workforce planning, delivery and assurance responsibilities are core parts of their role, in both acute and community sectors.

Past applicants work in a variety of roles such as chief nurse, deputy/assistant chief nurse and trust safer staffing lead. We are particularly keen to see an increase in applicants from mental health, learning disability services, midwifery, community, and from colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds and other underrepresented groups.


The programme is delivered in partnership with Birmingham City University and leads to a post graduate certificate qualification at the end of year one. Following
successful completion of the first year, there is an opportunity to progress to a post graduate diploma and/or masters level qualification.

The post graduate certificate qualification consists of three taught modules. Each module is comprised of two full days of taught content, 180 hours of self-directed learning and submission of an assignment at level seven to the university.

Upon successful completion of the post graduate certificate, fellows are expected to support and contribute to NHS organisations via the Safer Staffing Faculty team.
Cohorts 12 and 13 are planned to commence in February 2024 and March 2024.

Application process

If you feel the programme would improve the implementation of evidence-based safer staffing practice within your organisation, please apply or nominate a colleague. The application forms must be countersigned by a chief nurse/director of nursing to demonstrate commitment as a sponsor. Please note that anyone interested in applying can select a preference between cohort 12 or 13, although preferences cannot be guaranteed.

The deadline for applications is Friday 7 July 2023. Please submit applications to Interviews will take place from 7 to 19 September 2023.

Useful resources