The value of the circle: An interprofessional leadership program

Ms Angela Wood1, Ms Karyn Paterson1, Ms Louise Nicholls1

1Metro South Health , Brisbane, Australia

Interprofessional collaboration and leadership supports optimal patient and organisational outcomes. At Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH), an Interprofessional Leadership Program (IPL) was collaboratively designed, implemented and evaluated by the Nursing Practice Development Unit (NPDU) and Allied Health Workforce Development Team.

The IPL program targeted emerging clinical nurse, allied health and medical leaders (Nurse grade 7, HP4, residents). In addition to program goals related to developing leadership capabilities (leadership understanding, emotional intelligence, teamwork and communication, development of others and practice improvement), the program sought to provide opportunity for interprofessional collaborative practice through learning from, with and about each other in interprofessional teams. The Program was based around six interactive, face to face Learning Circles of 90 minutes. Participants committed to completing considerable structured pre and post Learning Circle activities, including readings, videos and podcasts. The focus of Learning Circles was facilitated discussion and interaction, rather than delivery of content.

Admission to the IPL program was via expression of interest and line manager support. In the inaugural program, 14 health professions were represented. Participants and their line managers were asked to complete an assessment using The Leadership Capability Instrument pre- and post- program. Scores demonstrated an increase in leadership capability overall, as well as in all 4 leadership domains of the Instrument. The positive change in leadership capability was convincing in the self-assessments (mean = 0.4), but even higher in the line manager assessment (mean = 0.7). COVID impacted the program, with some attrition during the peak of the pandemic, and 2 learning circles had to be cancelled.

Feedback from the inaugural IPL program has been integrated into the 2021 modules, and the interprofessional program is business as usual for 2021.


Angela Wood is currently an Advanced Health Practitioner at Princess Alexandra Hospital.  With a background in Occupational Therapy, she leads allied health workforce development, supporting the capability and capacity of the allied health staff.  Angela has over 20 years’ experience in clinical, management, education and project roles across Queensland Health, the NHS, private and not for profit organisations. She is passionate about strengthening teamwork, and is currently a PhD candidate exploring interprofessional collaborative practice at The University of Queensland.   Angela has researched and published in the area of teamwork, including the role of the support workforce.

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