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Postprint of: Hurley, J & Hutchinson, M 2013, 'Setting a course: A critical review of the literature on nurse leadership in Australia', Contemporary Nurse, vol. 43, no. 2, pp. 178-182.

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Nurse leadership capability that is constructed, nurtured and supported from pre-registration level into the mature career stages intuitively appears to offer benefit for all health stakeholders. Literature suggests such effective nurse leadership impacts positively on not only the quality of clinical care, but also the working environment in which nursing is conducted. Yet a coordinated strategic impetus to develop this leadership capability throughout the nursing profession in Australia remains elusive to quantify.

Australia produces many outstanding nurse leaders despite this apparent lack of strategic direction, and yet perhaps due to this lack of cohesive direction nursing leadership is arguably not embedded within and across the culture of the profession; or within health organizations generally. This paper seeks to critically explore the recent literature on nursing leadership in Australia, and to highlight the necessity to strengthen leadership capability across the stratified layers of the nursing workforce.

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