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Developing yourself for clinical leadership

This 25-hour course is aimed at doctors, nurses or allied health professionals working within the health service at various stages in their careers. It is a self-contained introduction to leadership behaviours and skills for clinicians, the second in a series of continuing professional development (CPD) courses on various aspects of clinical leadership. Whereas the first course Introduction to clinical leadership (BG014) focuses on the range of areas where clinicians are now expected to demonstrate leadership; this course explores the kinds of personal characteristics and abilities relevant to carrying these out. It invites you to develop a personal leadership style that plays to your own preferences and strengths.

The course covers material at postgraduate level. 

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code
This is a non-credit bearing course.
Study method
Distance Learning
Short course cost
See Registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

What you will study

The course introduces you to different aspects of clinical leadership, including taking part in service improvement work within your own team and working collaboratively with other teams to improve the wider 'patient journey'. It then offers a number of frameworks, including the Myers Briggs Type Inventory and the concept of Emotional Intelligence, for assessing how you currently tackle situations and relate to colleagues. Using online assessments, you will be encouraged to assess your personal style and your current strengths relevant to different aspects of clinical leadership, and then to think about how you might develop your personal abilities further in the light of how you want your clinical leadership roles to develop. The course emphasises the valid contribution of different personality types and approaches to leadership, rather than portraying a single best way to lead. It advocates the importance of self-knowledge as a basis for further development as a leader.

The course is based on four six-hour sessions of online study. The learning materials are in a variety of formats including articles, case studies, and audio interviews of clinicians within the NHS, describing how they are involved in various aspects of clinical leadership. Whilst studying the course you will be supported by a learning adviser. By the end of the course, you will have completed an analysis of your strengths and priorities for developing yourself as a clinical leader. You will submit this to your learning adviser for feedback, and so obtain a Certificate of Completion for your CPD record.

You will learn

On completing the course you will have clarified your own values, preferences and strengths in how you approach your clinical practice and take up various aspects of leadership. You will also have deepened your understanding of the different kinds of personal ability and intelligence that are relevant for clinical leadership, and understood ways you can build on your current strengths to increase your effectiveness in working with others and providing leadership.

Learner support

Expert, confidential learner support is available when you need it from a learning adviser, who will respond to you direct within 24 hours. Other support is available via the course forum, library, StudentHome website and computing helpdesk.

Work-based activity

The work-based activity for this course has been designed as an integrated ongoing activity that you submit at the end of your study. It will enable you to reflect on your learning and apply it to your professional work.

Outside the UK

This course has been written primarily for a UK context, but will have relevance to other contexts.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Entry requirements

    Although there are no formal academic requirements to study any of our CPD courses, you are expected to have some experience in the field and the course assumes a familiarity with the subject.

    This course has been developed in conjunction with BMJ Learning. If you register for this course, they would like to contact you about further learning opportunities. If you do not want to receive information from BMJ, please mark the relevant opt-out box on your registration agreement.

    You can register and begin at any time during the life of the course. You can study at your own pace and submit your work-based activity at any date before the final submission date for the course.

    Please note that depending on when you register, you will have at least 6 months to submit your work based activity. Information about your final submission date is available when you register for the course. If you feel 6 months may not be sufficient time for your study and submission, please contact us to discuss your study options, including current final submission date before you register.


    Start End England fee Register
    At anytime Flexible - see Entry requirements for more detail £295.00 Register

    Ways to pay

    Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

    Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

    The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2019/20 academic year. Fees for short courses starting in the 2020/21 academic year or later may increase in line with the University’s strategic approach to fees.

    What's included

    All learning materials, exercises, study support and work-based activity are delivered entirely online.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    If you have a disability

    The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs. If you are a new learner with the OU, make sure that you look at our website.