By Celesté Louw

During September I had the privilege to present a poster on the development of our Empowered Caregiver Course at the Leadership Conference, organized by the Western Cape Department of Health and Groote Schuur Hospital.

Presentation by various prominent leaders, professionals and researchers confirmed that in order to transform the South African Healthcare system we need leaders who firstly have the personal, internal skills to lead themselves. These skills should be obtained by all professionals; not just those in designated positions. It is also vitally important that we share, not only our best practices, but more especially our failures, so that we may all learn and grow as providers of care and as a society.

Although the poster was compiled by myself, it must be stated that the content and development of the Empowered Caregiver Course (ECC) is truly an international, interdisciplinary team effort by the members of Work Package 2.3 and the CASO consortium. As a team, we are passionate to empower health and wellness professionals to take ownership of their self-leadership development and provide as much support as possible and thereby improving outcomes for healthcare users.

From the moment that the poster was mounted, there was extensive interest. Handouts were available with links to the CASO website and YouTube channel. Interest was expressed by Hospitals from South Africa and Namibia to register their staff, interns and students for the ECC. They were also eager to provide CASO with feedback once they have completed the course. These connections will be maintained to inform further refinement of the course.

The poster is available on our Facebook page and a short video describing the course, with an example is available on our YouTube channel.
To say the least, I was overwhelmed by the response, however it should not have surprised me. Every day health and wellness professionals are faced with numerous challenges, conflicts and risks. Leadership skills are essential for professionals to navigate in diverse practice environments.

Being a leader does not mean that you should have a designated title, but rather that you care for and actively campaign for the empowerment of yourself, others and society.
“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.” Lao Tzu


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