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.
ACN caught up with Janette Webster MACN, a Hospital Manager at Goulburn Valley Health, Victoria, who is currently enrolled in the ACN Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program.
- What made you apply for the program?
When I looked at the outline of the program, I saw that it addressed a lot of knowledge deficits that I know I’ve got. I’ve missed a Nurse Unit Manager (NUM) rung on the career ladder, so I’m not too familiar with concepts of the role such as finance, how we are funded, why we’re funded in a particular way, etc. I realised that the program would help plug these gaps and so far, it really has.
- How has the experience been so far?
It’s been amazing. The five-day masterclass was incredible, and we were so lucky to interact with and learn from such high-profile nurse leaders who have presented at national and international levels, they were so giving of their time and effort, it was truly a privilege to be in the same room with them.
This leadership program has given me the confidence to say ‘yes’ and work it out later. And it may sound funny when I say this, but I also put in the deposit to do the Jon Baines South Africa Study Tour next year, which I never would’ve done had it not been for this program!
I probably would have wanted someone to go with me or just looked it up at most. But I said to myself, ‘You know what, let me just put the deposit in and see what happens, it’ll be great, it’ll be fun and I can do it on my own.’
- Tell us about the mentoring experience
I remember putting out a silent prayer for Ronnie (Veronica Croome MACN) to be my mentor and the universe answered it! I was absolutely thrilled. Ronnie is the kind of person who makes work look like fun and I have the same philosophy – if you are going to work, make sure you have fun while doing it – so she was the perfect fit for me!
- How are the learning sessions going?
We had a learning session with some of the other participants and Tania (ACN Director of Strategy Tania Dufty FACN) at the National Nursing Forum (NNF), where we had to talk about the significant challenges we were facing at work and what possible solutions there could be. The issue that I talked about was my challenge to staff our campus in a proactive way. My substantive role is an after-hours nurse manager and I manage our nurse bank/pool.
It was interesting because the session raised more questions than answers but it was still informative because everyone had their own input which wasn’t necessarily the same. Assumptions were challenged, possibilities were presented, and it was beneficial to get different opinions on how to manage the problem.
- What have been some of the highlights of this program for you?
The first day at the Canberra masterclass when we had a session with Kylie (ACN CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward FACN) really made an impression on me. She’s so inspirational and politically-aware.
The Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program also opens a lot of doors and gives us some really great opportunities to network and meet with some highly accomplished nurse leaders. The President’s Welcome before the NNF was another highlight for me and it was humbling to meet so many of them. The conversations were insightful and their generosity of spirit in sharing knowledge is amazing.
- Are you working on a quality improvement idea?
Yes, I’m working on a business case that I expect to help me increase the nurse bank/pool coordinated position from 0.2 to 0.5. Our hospital is very focused on employment – and interviewing and reference checks are pretty much all that we have time for – but there’s no time to actually try and retain employees. It turns out to be a costly process. My business case is related to that – to work more on retaining people and working out why we’re losing them.
- What have you learnt about yourself through this program?
The Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program is about personal development as much as it is about professional development. I’ve learnt that I have a lot more knowledge and skill than I give myself credit for, and that’s one of the best things about the program, it brings out the best in you and instills so much confidence in you as a person and as a nurse leader.
If you’ve been thinking about applying for the program, don’t think – apply. I couldn’t recommend it more.
If Janette’s story has inspired you to pursue your leadership potential, then you are in luck! Applications are now open for the next intake of our Mid-Career Nurse Leadership Program commencing in February 2020. Head to our website for more information.