School of Medicine Leading Great Care

13 November 2020

The University of Notre Dame Australia School of Medicine has announced the launch of a new Graduate Certificate in Health Leadership, a program that aims to develop effective ethical leaders in healthcare.

The healthcare industry in WA is a machine of many moving parts, all of which have a place, but navigating the bureaucracy can be difficult for even experienced healthcare workers. For any organisation with such complexities in structure and processes, it is vital to have leaders who can both weave their way through these complexities and simultaneously see the bigger picture and consequences of decisions.

The School of Medicine’s Dr Kylie Russell developed the program and understands the need for such a leadership-focused education.

“One issue for health professionals is we're taught how to be clinicians,” Dr Russell says, “We're not taught how to be managers or leaders. So we go from delivering patient care and then suddenly you find yourself in a management position, but being a great clinician does not equal being a great manager. It's a unique skill set.”

“Clinicians are not always very good at knowing what's going on within the system, they get so focused in their clinical care and overlook that they're part of a much bigger WA system.”

This is true for many industries, the initial work undertaken by people who will one day be managers or leaders is often worlds apart from what they end up doing in a leadership position. Knowing this is the case, even just a basic understanding of management theory can be hugely beneficial for anyone thinking of moving into a leadership role.

“This program develops and supports student's contemporary understanding and application of management and leadership in health practice,” Dr Russell says.

The delivery of the program has also taken on an innovative approach, using a series of master classes from healthcare professionals rather than the traditional tutorial and lecture model. This ensures that students are getting exposed to the latest innovations, research, practices and thought leadership.

“This program is that bridge between the theory and the actual world,” Dr Russell says.

“It’s all about getting into the minds of those experienced leaders and understanding their viewpoints and how they've come to be where they are, what they've learned from what they did well, and what they didn't do well.”

In a world of connections and relationships, having this insight is invaluable for health professionals entering their management and leadership career. Without an understanding of the complex internal structures and processes of healthcare in WA, individuals risk becoming a spanner in the healthcare industry’s engine.

But with the knowledge this program offers, career potential broadens, professional skills are developed, and students can safely say they are on the first steps of the journey towards being an effective ethical leader.

Dean of Medicine Professor Gervase Chaney said he and the rest of the School of Medicine are very proud of the program that partners the School with WA Health.

“As someone who benefited from good quality health leadership training earlier in my career, I can only encourage colleagues in the health system to take up this excellent opportunity,” Professor Chaney said.

The program will be available to students who have a health based degree or equivalent. For more information, check the School of Medicine program page or email the A/Director of Medical and Health Professional Education, Associate Professor Kylie Russell.

Media Contact: Breyon Gibbs : +61 8 9433 0569 |