After spending 15 years as a Diagnostic Cytotechnologist in the Laboratory Medicine Program at University Health Network, Nicole Smith was ready to take her career to the next level.
“I had leadership roles within Cytology, however it has always been a goal of mine to obtain a senior leadership position at LMP,” Nicole says.
In the summer of 2022, Nicole saw a call out for LMP’s new Inside Out Leadership Academy, and specifically the opportunity to engage in a formal leadership training curriculum, and decided to get involved.
“Working in laboratory medicine is a unique area of healthcare. I thought this would be a great opportunity to learn about leadership in my specific context,” Nicole says.
Sixteen LMP staff were accepted into the inaugural program that concluded with a Graduation Ceremony on February 14. The program was designed to build enhanced leadership capability and capacity within TeamLMP at all levels. It featured eight full-day in-person and immersive modules facilitated by an external consultant, Sandy Gillespie, over a six month period. The curriculum was informed by initial consultations with LMP leaders and staff, and covered many topics including principles and skills relating to feedback and coaching, psychological safety, and change management.
In early February, Nicole was promoted to Quality & Service Specialist, Pathology – a brand new role in LMP.
“I’m definitely more confident in my new role after taking the program. I learned things like leadership through service, how to give effective feedback and how to have difficult conversations,” Nicole says.
The curriculum was designed to be practical and specifically integrated with the needs and nuances of laboratory medicine. As a capstone project within the curriculum, each of the 16 participants was paired with an MLT student from The Michener Institute of Education who were concurrently engaging in enrichment projects as part of their own curriculum in LMP. Staff provided mentorship and guidance to support them in fulfilling project deliverables relating to a strategic or operational goal of the department, in partnership with senior LMP leadership.
For Dr. Andrea Bozovic, mass spectrometry specialist, LMP, it was an opportunity to broaden her coaching skills.
“I have experience in teaching at various levels of education, including giving lectures in two courses in LMP at the University of Toronto, and leading enrichment rotations for Michener students and Clinical Biochemistry Fellows. Unlike teaching, mentoring and coaching are focused on facilitating and enabling others with a goal to assist them in developing specific skills and knowledge, or uncover their potential to maximize their own performance,” Andrea says.
Andrea and Kai were tasked with developing a value stream map that could be used to streamline the process of bringing new lab tests to LMP, as an enrichment project.
“It’s essentially a flow chart that allows us to identify waste, optimize workflow, increase productivity and create efficiencies – and I’m passionate about making things more efficient so this project was a great fit and Kai did an amazing job,” says Andrea. “I also really appreciated being involved in an LMP-wide project that I otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to.”
LMP is already planning for the next formal intake in September 2023 that embeds all of the great feedback that was gathered from the learners involved in the first year of the program.
Andrea says she would definitely recommend the program to all LMP staff, “Don’t feel shy, don’t think this is only for senior staff, it’s for everyone. It’s an opportunity to evaluate your own abilities and skills, develop communication skills, create a vision for your future and build a larger network across LMP.”
After a year of planning, Christine Bruce, Senior Director, LMP was really proud to watch the first cohort of students graduate.
“This program is a full year in the making,” says Christine. “I care so much about helping people grow—it has been a true labour of love, and the growth and enthusiasm of this first graduating class is awesome. I am so proud to have them on my leadership team.
In addition to this Curriculum, the Inside Out Leadership Academy also includes the Read2Lead Book Club which is open to all of LMP staff, with the third meeting coming up on March 31 at 12:00 pm.
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