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Leadership, Culture and Caring: a Powerful Triad


A recent experience I had at Hornsby Hospital Accident and Emergency Department (sore foot) gave me a renewed appreciation for clinical leadership and the impact of workplace or team culture on a way a place feels, the way people behave and the way that is experienced by consumers.

To explain, workplace culture is really ‘the way we do things around here’. Clinical leadership applied outside of health, to me, means leadership that is related to the service of others and is the practical application of specialist knowledge, skills and capabilities. These skills and capabilities, or their lack, in individual service providers and services as a whole have a significant influence on the positive or negative experience a consumer, client or patient may have.

I was lucky enough to be treated by a Nursing team – a Nurse Practitioner and another Nurse. They were fabulous and their care of me included:

  • Person Centredness
  • Humour
  • Compassion
  • Care
  • Respect
  • Competence
  • Courtesy
  • Acknowledgement
  • Patience and
  • Permission
  • Going the extra mile

I was there for a long time (I’m sure you can relate!) and as I sat, I observed everyone else behave like this towards the patients whose care they were responsible for as well. So more broadly than the excellent clinical care and clinical leadership I experienced, so did others. It is easier to provide excellence and care for others when workplace or team culture supports it. To me this indicates that there is likely to be a culture in this department, the section of it that I was in, or the team that was working on that shift, that supports excellent clinical leadership and clinical care.

I was grateful for the care I received and the way it was delivered that day. When you look at the list above it doesn’t take much to brighten another person’s day and everyone within that relationship benefit from that. For organisations, employees, consumers, clients and patients, working towards positive workplace cultures, and staff engagement and positive client poutcomes is at a very human level, incredibly worthwhile.


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