Background of BNLN


Over a period of several years, Bangladesh nurses have had the opportunity to undertake leadership education, principally via the International Council of Nurses Leadership for Change (LFC) Program which saw more than 130 successfully complete it (link to ICN LFC here).  The lack of mechanisms to support and foster their leadership abilities or those of other current and aspiring nurse leaders led the Bangladesh Government’s Director of Nursing Services and the Canadian –government funded Human Resources for Health (HRH) initiative to support establishment of a leadership network.

On 16 September 2013 sixteen (16) LFC graduates from the Dhaka area, along with a World Health Organization (WHO) observer, and staff from the Directorate of Nursing Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare were invited to participate in focus group discussions. The aim of the meeting was to determine interest in establishing a network, brainstorming network structure and functions, and identification of topics LFC graduates might like to receive refresher training on in 2014. 

There was unanimous agreement that a Bangladesh Nurse Leaders Network (BNLN) should be formed. Participants gave the following advice:

  • The Network should start modestly and begin with LFC graduates, and gradually expand to include other leaders and aspiring ones;
  • The BNLN should be open to retired nurses with leadership experience;
  • A secretariat with officers and committees is needed;
  • A small group will work together to plan the Network along with a national meeting to launch the Network and elect the management committee; and
  • Fees will be charged.

In addition to the focus group discussions, the 137 graduates of the ICN-LFC program were surveyed to determine their interest and support of the network concept. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Sixty (60) percent of graduates replied and all supported the idea.

They indicated strong interest in the Network as a means of networking, information sharing and continuing education. Other areas of interest were research collaboration, a newsletter, policy making, monitoring and evaluation, professional advice and collaborating with other health professionals. Nurses indicated their willingness to contribute in a broad range of areas with information sharing topping the list, followed by acting as a trainer, developing policy, working on projects, mentoring, serving on the management committee, advocacy, image building, undertaking research, writing articles and planning conferences and training.

Nurses said this about the need for working together to advance nursing leadership:

Leadership is not a single thing. It is used in an area in specific ways. Senior staff nurse uses it in a ward with a patient and his/her relatives and some superiors. Public health nurses use it with community and local people. Instructors also use it for the student education.

I think all nurses are managers, so they require leadership ability. In Bangladesh nurse’s leadership condition is not so good. Causes are ineffective nurses association, neglected nurse’s recognition and position, nurses’ promotions remaining overdue for years. So we need strong professional nurseleaders in Bangladesh.

Many challenges are seen in nursing department in Bangladesh. Good and effective leadership is essential. Quality and qualified nurse leaders should be placed in appropriate place. Delegation of power should be given to the leaders. To sustain the leadership resource especially finance is necessary. Continuing education and in service training will be helpful.