KASH for Nurses: The Currency of Nursing Leadership


Published: 09 June 2016

KASH – The Currency of Nursing Leadership

Using business expert Tom Chandler’s KASH model for success, we create a guide for the development of our own professional nurse leadership skills to add greater value to our position.

In countries like the USA and the UK, the position of Clinical Nurse Leader is well established (White Paper Australian College of Nursing 2015). These positions are filled by nurses who have completed a Masters of Nursing. They are experts in their field and possess the leadership skills required to be able to improve patient outcomes by influencing and inspiring others to deliver the best care they can.

The expectation is that nurses who hold these positions have the skills to lead others. While we don’t have Clinical Nurse Leadership positions in Australia yet, Harper states a clinical nurse leader is one “who possesses clinical expertise in a specialty practice area and who uses interpersonal skills to enable nurses and other healthcare providers to deliver quality patient care” (2006). As professional nurses, we should still be alert to the importance of leadership skill development.

According to Wong and Cummings (2007), Clinical Nurse Leadership affects the workplace in the following three very important ways:

  1. They improve patient care outcomes. Patient’s report a more positive experience
  2. The emotional and psychological welfare of nurses improves. The nurses report higher levels of happiness and job satisfaction
  3. The organisation improves its bottom line. Happier staff means less sick leave taken and less staff turnover, as well as improved accountability and responsibility to use resources more efficiently.

Below is Tom Chandler’s KASH model. It is intended for use as an indication to why businesses succeed or fail. I have adapted the model to relate to leadership success in nursing. There are four quadrants that highlight different areas of development:









ClinicianNurses become experts in their field when they develop the left side of the KASH box LeaderNurses become leaders of others when they develop the right side of the KASH box


This is the sum of everything we learn through both formal and informal education. We acquire our knowledge, theoretical and practical, over the span of our career. We expend our energy, time and money to learn, internalise and deliver on the things we need to know, to perform our roles with proficiency and expertise.


Our attitude is everyone’s window to how we think about our world. People glean from our attitude our commitment to our job, how we feel about the organisation we work for, what we think and feel about our colleagues and how invested we are in providing the best care that we can for our patients.


Our skills are the practical tools we apply our knowledge with. We build on our skills by learning from others and becoming experts through repetition.


Our habits are our behaviours. Leaders reflect the values of their organisation. Leaders use emotional intelligence to create the behaviour that will get them the most desirable outcome for themselves and others.

Having knowledge and skills makes you a clinician. Adding the right attitude and habits will allow you to become a leader.

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  • Australian College of Nursing 2015, Nurse leadership white paper, 2015, viewed 12 May 2016, https://www.acn.edu.au/sites/defau…AL.pdf
  • Harper 2006, British journal of nursing, vol 15, no 2
  • Chandler, T 2013, viewed 12 May 2016, http://virtual.auburnworks.org/pro…vity
  • Wong, CA & GG Cummings 2007, ‘The relationship between nurse leadership and patient outcomes: a systematic review,’ Journal of nursing management – Wiley Online Library



Portrait of Janette Cooper
Janette Cooper

Janette Cooper is a registered nurse, currently working as a gastroenterology procedure nurse at Noarlunga Hospital. She has a Bachelor of Nursing, a Graduate Certificate in Health Service Management from Flinders University, and a certificate in Gastroenterology Nursing from The Queensland University of Technology. In 2012 she began a life coaching course with The Coaching Institute in Melbourne. It has allowed her to combine her two passions of nursing and personal development. She divides her time between gastroenterology nursing and promoting personal development and leadership by means of frequently published articles through Ausmed, leadership presentations and workshops and coaching health professionals wanting to develop their leadership potential. See Educator Profile