Avant/AAPM Scholarships awarded to foster professional development

20 November 2019 | Avant media

Recognising the critical role practice managers play in medical practice, five outstanding practice managers have been awarded scholarships to support their professional development.

Avant, in partnership with Australian Association of Practice Management (AAPM), awarded the scholarships at the recent 2019 AAPM National Conference in Brisbane. As Australia’s leading medical defence organisation – by doctors, for doctors ­– we’re dedicated to empowering practice managers through education to better support doctors and practices to deliver strong and sustainable patient outcomes.

This year, the majority of applicants were nominated for a scholarship by their practice principal. The scholarship recipients, representing general and speciality practices, will undertake online practice management courses in health practice management and practice leadership at UNE Partnerships.

The 2019 scholarship recipients are:

  • Chloe Sellwood, Clinic Support Manager, Gurriny Yealamucka, Aboriginal Corporation Health Service, QLD
  • Madeleine Shaw, practice manager, Alice Street Medical Centre, QLD
  • Rebecca McNaught, practice manager, Lotus Dermatology, NSW
  • Zoe Edema, practice manager, Carnegie Medical Centre, VIC
  • Justine Coupland, practice manager, Dr Ian Chinsee, QLD

The judging panel comprised two experienced practice managers, Jan Chaffey and Colleen Sullivan, OAM, and Marianna Kelly, a practice manager, registered nurse, mediator and Risk Adviser, Avant.

Investing in the future of the practice

Dr Mark Lipzker, owner of the Carnegie Medical Centre and Dr Niroshe Amarasekera, principal supervising GP and medical educator, nominated Zoe Edema, a practice manager, for a scholarship earlier this year.

“There is a saying that your practice is only as good as your practice staff,” Dr Amarasekera says. “To keep improving, practice managers need ongoing professional development – it’s an investment in the future of the practice.”

Dr Amarasekera says Zoe’s tertiary qualifications, coupled with the skills she gained after becoming an AAPM Certified Practice Manager and completing her AAPM Fellowship, and her collaborative management style, have made her an invaluable asset to the practice.

“Whether it’s the day-to-day running of the practice or bigger picture items like hiring or training, Zoe always gives a hundred percent and inspires others to strive to be better,” she says. “Under her management, the practice now employs a GP registrar and has excelled at teaching, winning awards two years in a row for supervision.”

“As the practice expands, the scholarship will help to equip Zoe with business development and management skills and allow her to take her leadership skills to the next level in order to manage a medium-sized practice,” she says.

Passion for life-long learning

An AAPM member, Zoe says persistence paid off after applying for a scholarship twice before.

“I was very new to practice management and probably needed some more experience to really get the most out of this opportunity,” she says. “It just goes to show that if you persist and keep working towards what you want, anything is possible!”

“I am thrilled to be awarded the scholarship,” Zoe says. “My experience so far with both Avant and AAPM as far as professional development and providing resources to practice managers, has been invaluable and I see this as an amazing opportunity.”

After completing a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education at Monash University, Zoe worked as a teacher for several years. Drawn to the educational component of practice management and a chance to “shape the next generation of doctors,” she joined Carnegie Medical Centre nine years ago as a receptionist. In 2016, she took on the role of practice manager and now manages five GPs, one GP registrar, two practice nurses and seven administration staff.

Zoe is looking forward to undertaking either a Diploma of Professional Practice Leadership or Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management, next year.

“As a result of this scholarship, I hope to use my new leadership and business skills in my current role and improve the culture and environment for both my staff and our patients,” she says. “Ultimately, the goal is to provide better health outcomes for our patients by improving our processes and approaches to modern day healthcare as a whole practice.”

Recognition of practice managers

Cathy Baynie, AAPM Director and National President, said the association was proud of its longstanding partnership with Avant.

“The Avant/AAPM Scholarship program continues to deliver important opportunities for practice management education through the invaluable support of our partnership with Avant.”

“Increasingly, the role of the practice manager has become more complex and demanding,” she says. “This reinforces the need for continuous improvement and professional development around AAPM’s core principles of financial management, human resources, governance, risk management, planning, marketing, information management and business and clinical operations.”

“Avant’s recognition of the role practice managers play in the health industry, has enabled Avant and AAPM to award scholarships to over 30 AAPM members, including the five lucky 2019 scholarship recipients,” she says. “We encourage AAPM members who have been unsuccessful in the past, to apply again in 2020.”

More information

Find out more about the Avant/AAPM Scholarship Program.

Pictured left to right: Zoe Edema, Justine Coupland, Rebecca McNaught and Madeleine Shaw.

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