The Australian College of Nursing (ACN) Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program provides nurses who are passionate about advancing their careers with the skills to lead change in the nursing profession. Participants are supported through personal development, career coaching and learning sets. The program’s inaugural participants undertook a five-day intensive course in Canberra in June 2019 and have continued to be supported with learning sets and coaching while they complete a project or quality improvement initiative. Our Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program NurseClick series profiles four of the inaugural participants’ experiences in the program.
Daryn Mitford MACN is a nurse manager at Camden and Campbelltown Hospitals and was encouraged to apply for the program by South Western Sydney Local Health District, a Platinum Affiliate of ACN.
Daryn participated in the face-to-face intensive course in Canberra where he was able to have direct access to high-calibre nurse leaders, including ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN, who personally took the time to look over his and the other participants’ resumes. “When do you ever get an opportunity to attend a five-day face-to-face course with Chief Nurses and Chairs of Boards who give you tools and their time to help you become a better leader,” he said.
As part of the program, Daryn also received one-on-one mentoring support from a District Director of Nursing in Victoria. “Coming from New South Wales, this helped widen my perspective of health care on a national level,” he said.
Daryn explained the program assisted him to grow as a person and a nurse and helped expand his personal brand and professional network outside his local hospital and into his wider health district. “The program has really equipped me in networking and being able to have a powerful conversation with somebody far more important than myself along with making me a more professional and senior leader in my workplace,” he said.
On a practical level, the program has inspired Daryn to implement a ‘Why Board’ at his workplace. This initiative makes all members of his team reflect on why they entered the nursing profession and what motivates them to come to work each day. At the end of the Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program, he will submit a manager succession plan which will run over 10 months and ensure the next generation of managers are equipped with the necessary knowledge to effectively lead teams.
Daryn also used the skills he developed in the program to help convince other members of his team of their leadership potential. He has implemented two other leadership programs in his workplace focused on making registered and enrolled nurses recognise their leadership potential. “Every nurse is a leader in their own right, our job as senior nurse leaders is to make all nurses realise that,’’ he said.
Daryn’s participation in the program has helped affirm his career goal of becoming a Director of Nursing one day. “I’ve done lots of leadership courses in my time and this is by far the best, I would recommend it to any nurse in the middle stages of their career,” he said.