This is possibly the most positive wall of post-its (pictured above). Each post-it states a reason why Bupa’s Registered Nurses love nursing at Bupa.

Bupa New Zealand Managing Director Jan Adams speaks fondly of the post-it exercise, carried out at Bupa’s regional nurse forum which was attended by 425 RNs.

“There was a lot of value from that. It was a good pulse check,” she says.

The positive feedback must have been affirming for Adams, who has focused on making Bupa the place to be for aged care nursing since she was appointed Director of Nursing, Quality & Risk in 2015.

Leveraging Clinical Managers

As part of its drive to make Bupa the “place to be”, it put its Clinical Manager position under the microscope. They wanted a clear vision for the role going forward, which prompted the Clinical Manager Framework, a strategy for current and aspiring Clinical Managers.

A key part of the strategy was the six-month Mastering Clinical Leadership Programme, which gave Clinical Managers the opportunity to hone their leadership skills while remaining skilled clinicians and overseeing care.

“We had to think about what is needed to lead, guide and direct a clinical team,” says Adams.

To date, 45 out of 60 Bupa Clinical Managers have gone through the programme, with the latest cohort graduating in January. The feedback has been positive, says Adams.

One of the benefits of the programme has been the networking conversations it has started between employees. With Bupa’s sites spread across the country, there can be a sense of isolation for Clinical Managers, which the programme has helped to overcome.

Some Clinical Managers have even progressed to the role of Care Home Manager upon completing the leadership programme.

Management opportunities across the board

Career progression and upskilling is important at Bupa – and not just for its Clinical Managers.

The company supports a range of scholarships which have enabled caregivers to become nurses, helped nurses to get their postgrad diplomas, and supported non-care staff with training initiatives.

More generally, Bupa will soon launch a new Management Essentials programme. Adams says Bupa was concerned there was a gap in their leadership training and wanted to ensure that they were equipping people in smaller management and support roles with the right skills. The Management Essentials programme is open to anyone with one person or more reporting to them formally or informally, regardless of their area of work, be it laundry, admin, care or any other area of the business.

Adams is excited about the new programme; she is eager to see how it will be received.

Tapping into Bupa’s global business

Adams is also keen to see more collaboration between the Australian and New Zealand aged care businesses. There are 14,500 Bupa employees across the two countries.

“In the past I think we’ve been quite inward-focused, but there are great opportunities to learn from each other.”

Registered Nurses particularly have a chance to shine on Bupa’s global stage. As Bupa’s Global Chief Nurse, Adams is focused on harnessing nurse talent across the globe.

Last year they held a two-day global Bupa nurse forum in Manchester where 45 people from around the world immersed themselves in discussions on clinical leadership, quality improvement and other areas.

Adams says nurses share the same concerns regardless of their location.

“I’ve spent time with nurses in Hong Kong, Spain, Poland and Chile and all of them are dealing with the same issues,” she says.

“They’re desperate for information, desperate to connect.”

Adams is pleased to see Bupa starting to have a relationship with the International Council of Nurses after the Chief Executive attended the Bupa nurse forum.

Back in New Zealand, nurses have access to relevant professional development initiatives, including the aforementioned regional nurse forum and Bupa’s own Professional Development Recognition Programme (PDRP) for Registered and Enrolled Nurses.

Review and progress

Adams says there is always a strong focus on reviewing Bupa’s education and training strategy.

In the third quarter of the year, new and existing initiatives will be reviewed and tweaked if necessary. For example, the new Management Essentials programme will undergo scrutiny later this year. Adams says they place great value on participants’ feedback.

Adams says helping people reach their full potential is one of her favourite parts of her role

“We are privileged to be trusted to look after people. We have to get care right for the individual. Helping Bupa employees, especially nurses and caregivers, to develop and be their best is key to that. It’s a joy to help people grow through our programmes.”

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