Background In the last decade literature, inquiries and reports into the short comings in health services have highlighted the vital role of leadership in clinical practice and the impact on patient care and effective workplace culture. Whilst there is an abundance of literature on leadership and the registered nursing workforce, an international literature review revealed there is very little known on leadership development in pre-registration nursing programmes. Objective To identify what the profession's views are on proposed indicative curriculum content suggested for clinical leadership development in a pre-registration nursing degree in Australia. Design This is a multi-method research study. This paper presents the development and results of one aspect of the study, a national online survey. Participants Nurses: clinicians, managers and academics. Methods In the absence of a strong evidence base in the literature review, additional pre-requisite curriculum content was augmented from the work of two published frameworks of leadership and management. From this a 67-item survey was designed to ask the profession whether the aggregated content is a reasonable view of what should be included in a pre-registration programme to develop clinical leadership. The survey sought the views of nurses on whether the proposed content was relevant (yes/no) and their opinion on whether it is significant via a 5-point Likert scale. Descriptive and chi-square analyses were performed in SPSS v.19. Results A total of 418 nurses completed the survey; there was consensus amongst the profession on what is considered relevant and important in a pre-registration nursing programme. Conclusions The content identified could be considered indicative and pre-requisite to include in a pre-registration nursing programme. Members of the nursing profession in Australia have clear views about this. The next step is to design and evaluate a purposeful pedagogical approach and curriculum, leading to the development of clinical leadership knowledge, skills and behaviours in newly graduating nurses.