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Posted on 13 Feb 2020
Clinical/Acute Care
Governance and leadership
Innovation and improvement

In May 2019 we welcomed eight new clinicians to undertake our second Clinical Fellowship Program. 

Over their 12-month journey with us they participated in a learning program to build their skills, including:

  • project management
  • change management and leadership
  • leading priority projects in healthcare improvement

As our current fellows approach the end of their program, we’re looking for our third cohort of fellows to start in June 2020. 

To give you an idea of what’s involved, we spoke to two of our current fellows about their experience of the Safer Care Victoria Clinical Fellowship Program.  

Meet Priscilla and James

Photo of Clinical Fellow Priscilla Stephenson
Clinical Fellow Priscilla Stephenson

I’m a Registered Nurse with most of my career spent in the Paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) both here in Melbourne and in the UK and USA. I’m also the mother of two primary school aged children and a cheeky chocolate Labrador! My partner, children and I all enjoy spending as much time at the beach as possible.

Q. Why did you apply for the clinical fellowship? 
Looking for ways to improve on the care we provide to children and their families is a key aspect of my role as Nurse Coordinator in PICU. It’s an area that I’ve always been interested in, along with ensuring we deliver high quality and safe care. The fellowship provided the opportunity to learn a great deal about the best way to do this from a statewide perspective.

Q. What are the key things you have learned and has the fellowship impacted you as a clinician?
SCV has provided a well-supported and structured program that’s allowed me to learn about project management and quality improvement methodology. I’ve then been able to apply this simultaneously by leading a quality improvement project. While my project was at a statewide level, the method can be used at an individual level and will absolutely have a positive impact on the work that I do moving forward.
 
Q. As part of the fellowship program you delivered an improvement project.  What was your project about and what did you learn during this process? 
I’ve been working with five hospitals to test change ideas to improve hospital readmission rates for paediatric tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. My biggest learning has been around teaching and coaching front line clinicians in using the quality improvement methodology to practically apply the changes. Then, using data and feedback to monitor and adapt as we go. The project participants have been fabulous to work with!

Q. How will you apply what you have learnt over the past 12 months? What are you looking forward to doing next?
I’m really looking forward to finding opportunities to apply my new improvement skills.  What I’ve learnt will provide me with a solid structure to apply to any project, big or small, and ultimately improve the care that I provide to patients and families. 

Q. What words of advice or encouragement would you give clinicians thinking about applying for the fellowship program in 2020?
This program is designed for clinicians. If you think you fit the criteria and you have an interest in quality improvement, then don’t be afraid to apply!
 

Clinical Fellow James Fowler
Clinical Fellow James Fowler

I’m a registered nurse and registered paramedic, and before my fellowship I’ve done teaching, research and clinical work in emergency departments of Melbourne and Alice Springs. I also managed to squeeze a year of holiday in there – my favourite place was Ukraine. 

Q. Why did you apply for the clinical fellowship? 
Our health system is very complex and the fellowship was a fantastic opportunity to learn about how all the different parts interact. As a clinician I can impact one person at a time, but with the fellowship I can help improve care across the whole state.

Q. What are the key things you have learned and has the fellowship impacted you as a clinician?
It’s a very busy job being a clinician. I never had time to step back and consider where I fit as part of the whole. I now understand how our work conditions affect how we function as clinicians. With this new view of my role in the health system I can now see how some annoying task are actually critical to patient safety (and I don’t see them as annoying anymore!) 
 
Q. As part of the fellowship program you delivered an improvement project.  What was your project about and what did you learn during this process? 
There is no one standard across Victoria to help healthcare staff respond consistently, safely and appropriately to agitated or aggressive people in emergency care settings. My project therefore developed statewide clinical guidance on caring for people displaying acute behavioural disturbance in emergency settings. To work in such a challenging topic area I’ve learnt how to partner with multidisciplinary experts and diverse organisations. Lots of communication and negotiation!

Q. How will you apply what you have learnt over the past 12 months? What are you looking forward to doing next?
I’ve loved bringing people together to work on a complex problem. Managing relationships and diverse stakeholders with careful communication has been critical in my fellowship. I’m hoping to find a professional role where I can use and grow these affiliative and strategic communication skills. 

Q. What words of advice or encouragement would you give clinicians thinking about applying for the fellowship program in 2020?
You will undergo an immense amount of personal growth during the fellowship. If nothing else, consider applying just for that. 

Apply for Clinical Fellowship Program 2020-21.

Our first Clinical Fellows - where are they now?

We spoke to Sarah McTaggart about what she's up to now, two years after taking part in our very first Clinical Fellowship program. 

Apply for Clinical Fellowship Program 2020-21.

Page last updated: 17 Feb 2020