Now in its eleventh year, Project LEAD is a leadership program created by and conducted through Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital and its associated facilities.

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Project LEAD cultivates leaders in health care

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Five employees from various Sentara locations in Southern Virginia were recently recognized as they completed the 2015 Project LEAD program. Now in its eleventh year, Project LEAD is a leadership program created by and conducted through Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital and is designed to identify and foster rising leaders at the hospital and its associated facilities.

Participants in this year’s class included:

  • Kimberley Hudson, RN, labor and delivery nurse IV at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital
  • Joni Long, RN, restorative nurse supervisor/ICN/employee health nurse at Sentara MeadowView Terrace
  • Kelly Powell, RN, BSN, CHPN, hospice nurse at Sentara Halifax Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Stephanie Waller, CCS-P, CPC, audit appeal coordinator at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital
  • Michelle Weddle, LPC, clinical coordinator at Sentara Behavioral Health Services.

The program is facilitated by Vance Midgett, MDiv, manager of guest services and pastoral care at Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital.

"The Project LEAD program is challenging and rigorous, and it focuses on the development of leadership skills," Midgett states. "We offer a thorough overview of leadership, governance, financial perspective, human resources, external relations and community service. We want participants to experience new perspectives and learn about the organization outside their normal area of work."

The goal of the six-month program is to equip management with improved skills and a cohesive mission focus, based on a well-rounded knowledge of Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital and all its related locations. The program was developed by Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital President Chris A. Lumsden and Chief Nursing Officer Patricia Thomas.

"Like so many things in life, you get out of this program what you put into it," Midgett says. "When applications are reviewed and interviews are held, we seek out individuals who are energized by the prospect of participating in this program and who want to be better and contribute as both an employee and a leader. We have so many employees with the potential to do great things, and this program brings out new ideas that can help us be better and serve Southern Virginia in greater ways."

Participants are required to attend weekly in-services beginning in January and ending in June. The in-services are led by key members of management. Participants are expected to be engaged in weekly sessions and take part in discussions in order to further their understanding.

The group travels to Richmond in February to meet with several of the region’s leaders and legislators. The Project LEAD group also travels to Washington, D.C. for a look at healthcare-related issues on the national level. Members of Project LEAD also take time to shadow managers and senior managers of their choice during the course of the program.

Finally, a significant component of the Project LEAD program is the case study, in which participants choose a topic related to improving services or one that addresses a legislative issue. The topic is carefully explored and addressed and concludes with a presentation to senior management.

"An organization performs only as well as its leaders," says Lumsden. "Project LEAD gives each participant an opportunity to become more educated and involved and to know that their opinion counts." 

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