Emerging Leaders – realising our value through embedding clinical leadership

Mrs Rebecca Hughes1, Mrs Andrea Hurwood1, Mrs Helen Weston1

1Mobile Rehab, Brisbane, Australia

On a background of an ageing population, rapid growth in the community health sector and changing expectations of consumers, clinical leadership is essential to underpin the future of the allied health professions.

Mobile Rehab is a large private practice delivering allied healthcare services to South East Queensland, Northern New South Wales and the Darling Downs community. Like many health organisations, recruitment, retention and ongoing engagement of a dynamic workforce while delivering quality services can provide challenges. The emergence of early career clinicians seeking leadership roles has highlighted deficits in this area in both training and employer career path offerings.

There is a paucity of information relating to leadership development in the Australian community allied health sector. Parallels between the community sector and rural workforce may be drawn as clinicians often require a generalist scope of practice, work in isolation to their peers and experience higher staff turnover. Research outcomes in rural areas indicates flexibility and clear career progression pathways lead to higher retention rates and staff satisfaction.

With a growing workforce of early career allied health professionals and a strong new graduate program, Mobile Rehab recognised the need to offer leadership opportunities to ensure the continued growth of both our organisation and our clinicians. Following an organisational restructure, the introduction of a cluster model has provided a viable leadership opportunity to emerging leaders.

Information gained through a survey provides insight about the preparedness, confidence and capabilities of the emerging leaders. Ten months post implementation the emerging leaders program has provided significant learnings, that can be shared with other organisations to guide their leadership programs.


Graduated with a Bachelor of Physiotherapy/Bachelor of Exercise Science in 2012 from Griffith University after previously having completed a Bachelor of Business at QUT in 2007. Started with Mobile Rehab as a new graduate in 2012 and began engaging within the leadership program in 2014 as an early emerging leader, from which grew the initial stage of the emerging leader program . Following 2 children and 6 years with Mobile Rehab, is now a Regional Manager and enjoys the flexibility of working part time within this role.

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2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

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