Innovative pilot helps new nursing and midwifery leaders deliver world-class care

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) has embarked on a new and exciting journey of growing our next generation of leaders in patient care.

The Nursing and Midwifery Leadership program pilot has been launched to help new and emerging nurse unit managers become first-class leaders.

Each participant is supported by a mentor – a senior nurse manager from the District, who can share their hands-on experience through monthly mentoring sessions.

The timing could not have worked better for Keith Chan, recently appointed acting nurse unit manager (NUM) in Westmead Hospital’s intensive care unit.

“Being a relatively new NUM, I was very task-oriented,” Keith said.

“The first two days of workshops were fantastic. It made me think deeply about the higher purpose within a manager’s role.”

WSLHD director of Nursing & Midwifery and Clinical Governance Caroline Farmer welcomed the 12 participants in the pilot program which started in February. She said this innovative program is first-of-its-kind in the District.

“This operational-based program is designed by managers, for managers. Its content is true to the nature and components of their roles,” Caroline said.

“Each session will equip our future leaders with the right skillset to undertake day-to-day tasks with confidence and competence.

“At the conclusion of the program, participants will be able to articulate their leadership purpose and values, and critically reflect on individual leadership practice and style.”

The program includes monthly full-day workshops over 10 months. Keynote speakers include Graeme Loy, Chief Executive WSLHD, Carrie Marr, Chief Executive Clinical Excellence Commission, Jacqui Cross, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer NSW, and Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms, WSLHD Board member.

Each speaker is presenting their leadership journey and insights for participants. After the presentation, the floor opens for questions from the next generation of leaders.

Keith Chan, acting nurse unit manager (NUM), intensive care unit, Westmead Hospital

“The program is well thought-out and the opportunity to learn from brilliant organisational leaders is exciting,” Keith Chan, the new acting NUM, said.

“When you become a manager, you may not be well-equipped with tools on how to successfully marry up your patient-centred work and team management with the District values – collaboration, openness, respect and empowerment

“We were able to understand how to align our leadership values with the values of the District. I can’t wait to utilise my new skills and see what happens.”

Keith said he had already started using some of the invaluable insights gained.

“I loved the advice about being present and taking time to know the people you are working with. It includes not only your team members but also colleagues from other departments.

“I am looking forward to learning more about empowering people and building a world-class team of clinicians to deliver world-class care for our patients.”

To learn more about the program, contact the Office of Nursing and Midwifery at