Leadership and Innovation in Nursing Agenda


Kate Renzenbrink

Chief Nursing Midwifery Information Officer
Bendigo Health

In challenging times, leadership units have to be more visible and cohesive than ever before to ensure effective communication and collaboration within the workforce. Nurses, as essential workers have an important role to play in response to COVID-19 however, staff burnout and engagement can be a huge challenge. Hear from nursing leaders how they are tackling this challenge and the tips, tricks and strategies for effective leadership, including:

  • Communication: learn how to effectively communicate change to staff, streamline information on COVID-19 and being visible as a leader
  • Planning: how to plan for different scenarios brought about by COVID-19 such as workforce gaps, hospitals reaching capacity and identifying areas for further training such as PPE and infection control
  • Engagement: how to use engagement tools and forums to increase lines of communication with staff and results realised from the panellists own journeys

Kate Renzenbrink

Chief Nursing Midwifery Information Officer
Bendigo Health


Kassandra Packwood MACN

Interim Health Service Manager
Queanbeyan Health Service


Linda Davidson

Director of Nursing & Midwifery
Hornsby Ku Ring Gai Health Service


Angela Ryan

Chief Clinical Information Officer
Australian Digital Health Agency

10:15 am - 10:55 am CASE STUDY: From bushfires to COVID-19: How one local health service is navigating its nursing workforce through two crisis events

Tim Keun - Senior Nurse Manager, Queanbeyan Health Service

In late 2019 Queanbeyan Health Service was affected by the South Coast NSW bushfires. This caused significant challenges in itself, on top of having to very quickly pivot to epidemic planning. This session will explore the engagement strategies to help nurses adapt to challenges on the front line, such as:

  • Upskilling staff and converting to remote working within a short space of time
  • Updating the communication and leadership strategy and regularly checking in with offsite staff
  • Being transparent with staff through regular forums and check ins but also providing easily accessible information on current governance strategies 

Tim Keun

Senior Nurse Manager
Queanbeyan Health Service

10:55 am - 11:15 am Short Break

11:15 am - 11:55 am CASE STUDY: Dealing with the first known COVID-19 case through inspiring leadership and a collaborative culture at Ryde Hospital

Drew Hilditch-Roberts - Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Ryde Hospital, North Shore Ryde Health Service, Northern Sydney Local Health District

In March 2020, Ryde Hospital experienced the first case of COVID-19 that was contracted in Australia. The individual was a member of staff who had contact with a diverse range of patients. In the months that followed, information on the pandemic was changing on a daily basis and new healthcare staff were brought in to bridge workforce gaps. This session will explore how COVID-19 reset the way care is being delivered at Ryde Hospital. Although a pandemic plan was followed, it was ultimately a cultural approach that got them through this challenge. Learn about:

  • Grab the Pandemic Plan: What happened when the crisis hit
  • Sorry You have to Quarantine: Losing a workforce in 24 hrs
  • How they kept their emergency department going through the pandemic
  • Dealing with the unexpected: psychological impact of COVID19

Drew Hilditch-Roberts

Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Ryde Hospital, North Shore Ryde Health Service
Northern Sydney Local Health District

11:55 am - 12:35 pm Upskilling staff during COVID 19: How Metro South health successfully developed a training strategy for non-clinical staff to improve patient experience

Bernadette Thomson - Director Nursing Education, Metro South Health

Metro South Health successfully developed a training strategy for over 80 non-clinical staff, which was rolled out in just four weeks. Learn about the journey so far and the impact this has had on staff and patients, including how Metro South Health has:

  • Up-skilled their workforce successfully in a short period of time and kept existing staff and new recruits engaged throughout the process
  • Developed an education and training approach that is tailored to the needs of their hospital
  • Using up-skilling as a tool to plug workforce gaps and increase staff capacity for patient care
  • Thinking ahead for the future and strategies to enable staff to maintain the new skills they have learnt

Bernadette Thomson

Director Nursing Education
Metro South Health