Innovative succession planning and leadership development in a tertiary Emergency Department: Developing the next generation of leaders through a clearly defined professional development pathway, education sessions and training days

Miss Kimberly Jackson1, Miss Cassandra Rooney1, Mrs Karen Robinson1, Mr Ben Learmont1, Mrs Dale Mason1, Mr James Hughs1

1Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, Australia

Over the past five years, our Queensland tertiary Emergency Department (ED) has implemented and refined a structured Professional Development Pathway (PDP) for registered nurses. Traditionally learning and development pathways in emergency nursing only include the first two years of transition to specialist practice, historically stopping after the completion of triage training.  Our PDP has demonstrated that following clinical training our nurses have been provided with the opportunity to develop further and progress into senior leadership and management positions.  Our PDP has offered professional development to support progression into area coordinator roles (i.e. Resuscitation Coordinator), leadership in education (i.e. Clinical Coach Role) as well as supported succession into departmental leadership positions (Clinical Nurse). Through this program staff have developed well rounded leadership skills and confidence in their clinical and managerial capabilities. This succession planning program has focused on developing skills in the areas of education, problem solving, motivation and support of others, delegation and other important leadership qualities.  It has provided our staff with an overview and insight into strategic direction of the healthcare organisation. This has been achieved by introducing our staff to quality improvement projects which focus on the 10 National Safety and Quality Health Services Standards, accreditation requirements, key performance indicators, budgeting considerations and human resource management responsibilities.  Since the implementation of this program our staff have developed proficient leadership skills which have made them highly sought after by the organisation and the health service. This leadership program has motivated our staff to strive for great heights within their nursing careers and has ultimately led to an increase in job satisfaction, making our department highly successful and an extremely desirable place to work, so much so that there is a long waiting list of eager nurses wanting to join our team.


Kimberly graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2006. Kimberly works in the Princess Alexandra Hospital, commencing her career in Infectious Diseases, later transferring to the Emergency Department in 2008. Kimberly has a passion for mentoring, educating and developing her fellow colleagues; which has led her to roles in the areas of Education and Human Resource Management, and is now a Clinical Nurse Consultant within the ED. Kimberly has completed a Masters of Emergency Nursing and a Graduate Certificate in Health Professional Education.

Cassandra graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2005. Cassandra works in the Princess Alexandra Hospital, commencing her career in a surgical ward, later transferring to the Emergency Department in early 2008. Cassandra has held many leadership and mentoring positions within the organisation including positions of Nurse Managers the areas of Human Resources and Quality Initiatives, advancing Cassandra into her current position of Clinical Nurse Consultant within the ED. Cassandra has also completed a Graduate Certificate Emergency Nursing.