25 November 2022

Holbrook manager wins coveted leadership award

| Edwina Mason
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Holbrook Health Service’s acting manager Kayla Hill (left) is presented with the prestigious Don Kendell Memorial Leadership Award by Riverina specialist anaesthetist Dr Megan Farrell, who was the 2021 winner. Photo: MLHD.

Immense improvements to the quality of life of Holbrook Health Service’s high care residents has seen the facility’s acting manager awarded the highest accolade in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD).

Kayle Hill was appointed to the maternity leave position in December 2021 and, just 11 months down the track, has been conferred with the annual Don Kendell Memorial Leadership Award.

The highlight of the MLHD annual calendar, the award was established in 2002 in recognition of the leadership contribution to what was then the Greater Murray Health Area Service by local aviation pioneer Don Kendell.

Over the 20 years since, it has been presented to those staff members who demonstrated exceptional leadership, with excellence, professionalism and integrity key attributes as well as the ability to inspire team spirit and lead change.

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The presentation of the 2022 award concluded last week’s MLHD annual public meeting at which the 2020 winner and Riverina local specialist anaesthetist Dr Megan Farrell delivered the keynote address.

MLHD Chief Executive Jill Ludford said the judging panel decision had been unanimous in awarding Ms Hill the 2022 accolade.

“Over the course of the year she has shown great passion, enthusiasm and incredible dedication in this position,” Ms Ludford said.

“Kayla is a leader who motivates healthcare workers to aim towards excellence in everything they do,” she said. “She leads by example and is an inspiration for nurses across our district.”

Kayla Hill (right) with fellow health service colleague nurse manager Jenny Roach hard at work at the Holbrook health facility. Photo: MLHD.

Ms Hill was nominated by the Holbrook Local Health Advisory Committee (LHAC) who describe her as a having a holistic, dynamic and inclusive approach to facility management.

Some of her contributions toward improving the lives of residents in the Harry Jarvis wing over the past 12 months include:

  • coordinating and developing a sensory room to calm or stimulate (as the need may be) residents using a Tovertafel digital system, massage chair, projection images and a light and bubble tower;
  • purchasing a new barbecue and pizza oven to offer diversity of menu to the residents and encouraging family members to dine at the wing with their loved ones;
  • Redevelopment of the residents’ grounds to improve quality of life including raised garden beds, workbench/potting area for supervised use and the arrival of two chooks for care by the residents.

Holbrook (LHAC) Chair Mandy Locke said Ms Hill had worked tirelessly and innovatively to successfully recruit staff across all parts of the facility.

“In a very short period of time she has created an environment that empowers staff through education, leadership and team spirit,” she said. “She puts the residents and patients at the forefront of everything she does and is continually looking to improve their care and life experience.”

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Ms Locke said that from a community perspective Kayla had been impressive on all levels, attending to matters promptly and efficiently; provided clear, timely and thorough communication with the LHAC and always made time to address queries or discuss upcoming meetings.

“Her leadership style is empathetic, empowering and innovative,” Ms Locke said. “She is able to see the big picture and bring it down to implement at the local level to achieve the best outcomes for patients and residents.

Ms Hill was selected from 18 nominations for the 2022 award, a number Jill Ludford said was extremely difficult to adjudicate.

And on accepting the award, even Ms Hill said she was surprised, saying she couldn’t believe she made it to the list of nominees.

“I feel humbled and shocked but I couldn’t have done it without the support of my amazing team,” she said.

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