Empowering Managers to change workplace culture for greater collaboration with maternity hospitals

Ms Julie Castro1, Mrs Larissa Ralph1, Miss Bree  Fusinato1, Mrs  Linda Burnett1

Royal Children’s Hospital , Parkville , Australia

A successful partnership arrangement between Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) and maternity hospitals has been the foundation of a family-centred and reliable hearing screening service over the past 11 years. Moving forward, a stronger collaborative culture between the VIHSP Area Managers (AMs) and maternity hospitals is fundamental to the continued success of newborn hearing screening in Victoria.

VIHSP AMs have been working to strengthen relationships for efficient and productive task completion, working closely with local maternity hospital staff. To best equip the AM group to undertake this task, VIHSP empowered this team in three ways. First, an education phase was undertaken by all AMs with individual completion of a Diploma of Leadership and Management which included a strong emphasis on change management. Second, tools were supplied to enable the AMs to educate hospital teams on hearing screening. Finally, local reporting was introduced.

Authored by the AMs, this local report measures the completion of key tasks across managed hospitals. Tasks include OH&S assessment, and development of staff and stakeholder engagement events and strategies. Stakeholder information is documented by the AMs and shared with their Senior Managers on a monthly basis, creating a current and accurate database of key hospital contacts. For the first time stakeholder engagements are measured against benchmarks resulting in increased stakeholder contact. Increasing collaboration between AMs and local maternity hospital staff affords greater opportunities for improved forward planning. Review of improvements continues.


Julie Castro is a Senior Area Manager with the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program. Julie has worked with teams both locally and internationally to create and deliver universal newborn hearing screening programs. After over 10 years of working to increase community access to healthcare, Julie has grown increasingly interested in the critical role of workplace cultural and innovation. The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) screens the hearing of newborn babies in their first weeks of life. The program aims to promote early detection and intervention to improve outcomes for babies with hearing loss.