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Nurturing the District's leaders of the future.

Learning what it takes to lead

September 2018

Nurturing the District's leaders of the future.

Nurturing the District's leaders of the future.

Health clinicians with leadership aspirations are learning what it takes to make it to the top through an innovative professional development course.

Sydney Local Health District’s Leaders of the Future program is a 10 month course aimed at nursing and allied health clinicians who want to take the next step towards a career in health management.

Emerging leaders meet at the Centre for Education and Workforce Development in Rozelle for sessions on areas such as personal development, strategic leadership, communication styles and time management

The District’s senior workforce development consultant Nigel Cronin said the program has a different focus each month.

“We look at where people are in their work, goal setting, CVs, governance and various different topics each month,” he said.

A highlight of the course is the opportunity for each participant to select one or two leaders and observe them for several days.

RPA Hospital clinical dietitian Rachel van Rugge shadowed the District’s Director of Nutrition and Dietetics, Suzanne Kennewell, for her observation days.

Ms van Rugge said she found it to be an illuminating experience, particularly as it opened her eyes to thinking more broadly than a local situation.

“Suzanne has a strong focus on being an advocate for patients, not only in our service, but also state-wide,” Ms van Rugge said.

The program has already had success with several former, participants quickly moving up leadership ranks.

RPA clinical dietitian Felicity Ritorni, a graduate of last year’s course, said she has already been given the opportunity to supervise university students and junior staff.

“I found the course was really well organised. The content was very interesting, the guest speakers were very relevant to the sorts of things I would like to know more about,” Ms Ritorni said.”

Guest speakers have included the District’s senior workforce development consultant Claudia Green, who spoke about professional communication and finding a mentor, the District’s director of allied health, Sarah Whitney, who focused on governance and structure, and RPA senior psychologist Margot Gook, who spoke about emotional intelligence and resilience.

The program started in 2013 for nursing and midwifery clinicians before being expanded in 2015 to include professionals working in allied health.

Since it began, 79 people have successfully completed the course including 21 participants this year.

Ms van Rugge said an unexpected bonus of the course was the opportunity to network with clinicians from other disciplines.

“There were nurses, social workers, speech pathologists and they were from all different hospitals in the District so it was great to do some networking,” she said.

“It was also great to see how other clinical areas lead and manage.”

The program has an 88-per-cent satisfaction rating based on a seven key Likert scale.

“We always do evaluations and we do change things when required but we have consistently received very positive feedback about the course over the last couple of years,” said Mr Cronin.

Sydney Local Health District clinicians can apply by expressing interest to their clinical directors at the start of each year.

“I would say definitely give it a go and talk to your manager about it, particularly if you have aspirations to be a leader. You learn skills and strategies to improve your working day as a leader,” Ms van Rugge said.

Former graduates are working in a range of roles including senior clinicians, management positions, project roles, education, research, and secondments both within and outside clinical specialties.

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