Effectiveness of an Allied Health Emerging Clinical Leaders Pilot Program

Ms Joan Leo1, Ms Anne Harrison2

1Mercy Hospitals Vic. Ltd. , Melbourne, Australia, 2Mercy Hospitals Vic. Ltd – Werribee Mercy Hospital, Werribee, Australia


Aim: To evaluate the effect of the Allied Health Emerging Clinical Leaders Pilot Program in improving knowledge and understanding of clinical leadership and confidence in translating these skills into practice.

Method: A mixed methods study. Participants were senior Allied Health clinicians at Mercy Hospitals Vic Ltd. Pre and post program surveys and feedback on experience following action-learning projects were used to collect qualitative and quantitative data on change in knowledge and confidence to evaluate effectiveness. Quantitative data from Likert scales were analysed descriptively and qualitative data analysed by inductive thematic analysis.

Results: Seventeen Allied Health Clinicians participated in the program. Survey response rate was 77% pre-program and 65% post program. In relation to parameters of knowledge and confidence, the median ranking for application of continuous improvement, appreciative inquiry and change management shifted from unsure to knowledgeable and unsure to confident from pre to post program respectively. A total of 17 consumer-identified improvement projects were developed as part of the pilot program. Key learnings identified by participants were to listen more (to others) and talk less, involve consumers early to inform improvement, and grit – having the determination to keep going.

Significance of findings to allied health: Outcomes of the evaluation support program improvement in the development of clinical leadership that is person-centred, effective and necessary for ensuring contemporary, sustainable allied health services in a growing organisation.


Joan Leo

Joan Leo is the Allied Health Clinical Education Lead at Mercy Hospitals Victoria with a focus on health workforce development and educational design. Her professional background is in podiatry.

Joan has published in the area of experiential learning.

Anne Harrison

Anne Harrison is a physiotherapist with over 30 year’s clinical experience including 20 years of health management experience. She is currently manager of physiotherapy services at Werribee Mercy Hospital in Melbourne. She has interests in women’s health and translating research into practice as well as health service planning. Anne’s present research is investigating physical activity participation for women diagnosed with GDM and she has several publications in this area. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy, a Master of Health Administration and she is currently a Professional Doctoral candidate.