It is no easy feat doing work that benefits not only New Zealand’s medical practice, but the educational practice too. But Dr Eleri Clissold achieved just that and was awarded Young Person of the Year at the 2018 Deloitte IPANZ Public Sector Excellence Awards.

Eleri Clissold web compressedThe Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ) Public Sector Excellence Awards showcases outstanding examples of public sector contributions that benefit New Zealand and those who reside here. With distinguished individual performances and team achievements, which were nothing short of inspirational, the awards night shimmered with untold prospects.

Skills has stood proudly beside IPANZ for many years. As New Zealand’s largest industry training organisation, we are committed to improving workplace development and provide support and develop training solutions for public sector staff.

Skills is delighted to support the Deloitte IPANZ Public Sector Excellence Awards and sponsor the Young Professional of the Year award. The award is given to an individual under 30 who has made an outstanding contribution in their public sector role. This year, Dr Eleri Clissold shone through with creative solutions to tackling problems while appointed at different posts within Waitemata District Health Board (Waitemata DHB).

The welsh-born doctor was appointed as a Medical Education Fellow in 2015, in Waitemata DHB’s Institute for Innovation and Improvement’s Fellows’ Programme. She worked in the DHB’s Clinical Education and Training Unit designing and implementing a unique teaching programme. The medical education training programme was required to enhance the training experience for second year postgraduate doctors (house officers). However, she found it difficult to deliver this when these house officers were continuously busy with their clinical roles in hospital wards.

“We went through a process of working with individual clinical services, here at Waitemata DHB, to try and explain the importance of freeing them (house officers) from their clinical duties. It’s a huge ask to get them away from their clinical roles due to the requirement of delivering day-to-day health care. It was a big process and once we did that, we had a real obligation to deliver something that is not only perceived by the learners to be quality, but also the organisation, the patients, and the Medical Council.”

To accurately evaluate the quality of the programme, Dr Eleri digitalised the feedback process - improving the volume, quality and speed in which feedback is processed. “I evaluated it (the training programme) in five different domains and it came out with a 90% user-approval rating. I was heartened by the comments, they were quite heartfelt, saying that the programme was really useful to them.”

Dr Eleri Clissold’s willingness and dedication to, “come out of working in the system and start to work on the system,” lead her to further work in the Institute for Innovation and Improvement. While Dr Eleri was still focused on medical education, Dr Sasha Kljakovic, a colleague of hers working in innovation, approached Dr Eleri with the idea of somehow incorporating virtual reality (VR) in medical education. Dr Eleri worked as part of a team and this collaboration led to the piloting of interactive scenarios that are similar to the Escape My House simulation. House officers were able to look around while different scenarios played out. They are asked to select what they would do next from a selection of options, such as choosing different types and doses of medication, with their decisions impacting the outcome.

The feedback of the virtual-reality learning validates its importance and possibilities for future incorporation in medical education. “The doctors advised us they enjoyed seeing best practice role modeled and one of our participants told us they had come across that same situation a week after the VR simulation and said it really helped them.”

She has since transitioned from education to a role focused on patient safety as part of the Safety in Practice programme, working with 100 clinical teams to improve patient safety across community medical care. This work has resulted in reductions of high-risk medication prescriptions and improved awareness and collaboration among doctors, nurses and pharmacies.

Dr Eleri’s direction and instrumental input for these achievements led to her being a finalist and then winning the Young Person of the Year award. Accompanying the award is a scholarship for a leadership course at the prestigious Mt Eliza Business School in Melbourne. The scholarship is invaluable to Dr Eleri, “It’s an incredible opportunity for me and I’m really excited. I feel myself moving more towards formal leadership roles and the timing of this scholarship is just perfect.” She added, “I feel winning this award is a good challenge, it’s making me think about what I am going to do next and how my work can have a bigger impact.”

All the while talking through her achievements, Dr Eleri Clissold remains humble and continuously acknowledged the work as a team effort. “I have actually found it really difficult in some ways to accept an individual award because it’s been part of a team effort. That’s the reason it seems that I have achieved so much because I’ve worked really closely with so many amazing people.”

Skills is incredibly proud to help Dr Eleri take her efforts to the next level through sponsoring her leadership training, we are sure this will further her reach to help more people throughout the New Zealand medical community.


Dr Clissold's Seminar

Eleri will share her journey from Junior Doctor to Clinical Leader and emerging Public Sector Leader. She will discuss the different projects she has worked on and the learnings she has made through her journey so far. She will talk about models for training leaders, specifically how early career professionals can be heard within the large and complex healthcare system in New Zealand.

This seminar provides an opportunity to hear more about some very successful healthcare projects towards improving patient safety, and on the job training for junior doctors, from this inspirational young leader.

To find out more about registering, just visit the IPANZ website.