December 22, 2022

Career Pathway Program: HRO Explorers forge ahead.

Northern Health’s HRO Explorer Initiative has just concluded, and judging by the feedback received from the participating staff members and departments, it has been a roaring success.

The program itself gives employees the opportunity to work outside of their normal duties in another department to foster relationships and build understanding, ultimately adding individual and organizational value.  It was developed from a submission to ‘The Big Idea’ in early 2022 and then finessed to align with the HRO principle ‘Deference to Expertise’.

Physiotherapist Steph Castagnini, who got to work with HRO reflected, “Overall, I’d definitely recommend the program to staff who are not sure what their next move is – they may rediscover passion for their usual role or open doors to new opportunities.”

Julie Torres, a physiotherapist with Allied Health, opted to explore the Quality and Safety division.  She gained an appreciation for the work involved in following up patient complaints, health literary consideration for education material, and the efforts made to involve consumers in decision making at Northern Health.

Molecular Pathology’s Joshua Smith said of his time in the Digital Health division, “I have always had an interest in IT and data analytics however have never thought of pursuing a career in it. The Explorers Program has definitely made me more interested in working in Digital Health.

Andrea Clarke from Compliance stepped into Strategy and Planning. She realised she had many transferable skills and commented “The work the planning unit does is fascinating. They make very important contributions to future-proofing our health service to meet the needs of our community.”

Although most Explorers expressed difficulty in switching roles for one day a week with no back fill, the over arching theme appears to be that, through the program, participants gained a greater understanding of their chosen department, which they were able to channel back to the benefit of their own work environment.

The Department of Public Affairs consider themselves fortunate to have participated in this program. According to Pina Di Donato, Executive Director Public Affairs and Foundation “I was thrilled to discover that our staff wanted to learn more about what we do in Public Affairs. The program has opened up so many new doors. We suddenly became aware of the skills that were lying untapped within our own workforce. We are pleased to have since welcomed Slobodanka Trajkovski and Stephen Carnell, who has written this story, to our team. They have each added considerable value to the work we are doing.”

The pilot program was spearheaded by the irrepressible Cassie Bramston of the Transformation Unit (HRO).  Despite the hard work of co-ordinating Explorers, substantive departments and receiving divisions, Cassie was able to maintain a level of positivity which filtered down to the rest of the participants, setting the tone for this and future versions of the Explorers Program. Cassie said “It wasn’t until I started to collate responses from the focus group of the participants that I started to realise just how successful the program had been.”

Results were presented to the Executive just prior to Christmas, who, by all accounts, were delighted with the outcome. The next intake for the Career Pathways Program is set to commence early in 2023. Keep your eyes open for a chance to participate in culture changing initiative.