Behind the News

Healthscope's Leadership Foundations Program: Meet Emma Gerrard

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower - Steve Jobs

Gold Coast Private Paediatric Nurse Unit Manager, Emma Gerrard, is a recent participant of the Healthscope Leadership Foundation Program, graduating with top honours for the research and implementation of a brand new oncology treatment now offered at the hospital's Day Infusion Centre.

"I'm so thrilled to be acknowledged for this project, which I know will have such a huge impact on patients, their experience within the hospital and their quality of life,” said Emma.

The new treatment, called Therapeutic Apheresis, helps remove diseased cells from a patient's bloodstream.

"The process involves taking blood from a patient, which is then put into a machine to be separated into various components; plasma, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets," said Emma.

"You can then remove the diseased component and replace it - essentially 'washing' people's blood."

Therapeutic Apheresis can treat many conditions and takes approximately two and a half hours, with about 200 milliliters of blood removed each time.

Emma has worked for Healthscope for the last five years and is helping coordinate the expansion of Gold Coast Private. As part of this, she was asked to take part in the Leadership Foundations Program.

"The program recognises individuals within the company - who are appointed to the program by their general manager - and provides them with a platform to become leaders,” said Emma.

"It was certainly an amazing opportunity to be put forward for this, let alone to receive such a high score upon completion."

The therapeutic apheresis service has been six months in the making, with Emma responsible for sourcing financial feasibility, appointing a program director, collaborating with the Oncology Services Manager - Geoff McQueen, purchasing equipment, setting new policies and recruiting team members with suitable experience to run the service.

The treatment, which patients began accessing in October, is a welcome addition to the existing oncology and radiation service offered at the Day Infusion Centre.

It also means oncology and renal patients can access a full suite of services at the hospital, without having to travel to alternative facilities for treatment.

"Previously, our doctors had to send patients elsewhere to undergo this treatment, but they can now have their consultations, therapy and out-patient support in one place - providing a 'one stop shop," said Emma.

"We're really passionate about providing the region with a comprehensive cancer centre - allowing patients to be cared for at one hospital during their entire cancer journey."