August 20, 2019

Sarah Findlay selected for leadership program in New York

Sarah Findlay, social worker from Broadmeadows Hospital, has been selected to attend the ‘International Enhancement of Social Work Leadership Program’ at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and is the first person from Northern Health to ever attend this program.

Around Easter time, Associate Director of Allied Health, Penelope Vye, forwarded information on a six week observership program at Mount Sinai Hospital to her team, and Sarah was immediately interested and excited about the opportunity.

Knowing that Mount Sinai is an eminent teaching hospital, and having information of their programs that encourage people to come and observe what they did to enrich their own practice, Sarah applied to go to New York.

“It was like a job application, with CV, references and letters from my employer. There was also a panel interview by phone. I was interviewed by three social workers who had previously done the course, and they told us it would take a couple of weeks to make a decision on participants,” she said.

After more than a month, Sarah received an official letter from New York offering her a place in the competitive program.

“I am the first person from Northern Health who has been selected to go – we haven’t previously attended this program. The second person coming from Australia will be a social worker from the Alfred,” she said.

Getting into this international program is not easy. There are only four social workers accepted from a pool of candidates from across the world, and the other two would be coming from Israel.

“From 28 October until 6 December 2019, I will be part of the observership program, as we won’t be having direct contact with patients and families. The program will be full with meetings, both hospital based and community based, in the areas of social work,” Sarah said.

During her time there, Sarah will have to give a couple of presentations and select her special area of interest, which is the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and disability accommodation.

“There are severely disabled young people who get caught in the hospital system, because there isn’t anywhere in the community that could meet their high level of care needs. In Australia, we call it NDIS – an insurance scheme designed to meet the needs of those people,” she said.

Sarah covers all the expenses of this trip, as the accommodation and flights are not included in the program.

“The organisers made it clear the successful candidate funds their trip. I think it would be worth it – I am very excited to go,” she added.

Even though the United States have a different health care system, Sarah is hoping to bring new findings and insights both from the US and Israel into her department when she comes back, working closely with her team to reduce the length of stay.