People with Purpose: 50 years and still going strong

Posted on 24 Apr 2024

By Greg Thom, journalist, Institute of Community Directors Australia

Jane Scotcher

Even as a young girl, Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO Jane Scotcher knew she was destined for a career caring for others.

What attracted you to a career in the healthcare sector?

I always wanted to be a nurse.

Maybe it was because my mum was a nurse. Maybe it was because my dad had his first heart attack when I was five, and so there were lots of hospital visits during his life.

I was just one of those people who always knew that that was going to be my career. I never actually considered anything else.

Did you ever think you would rise to the position of CEO in this area way back at the beginning?

I would never, ever have even contemplated it.

I loved clinical nursing and I loved my colleagues, patients and their families. I never saw myself in a management role, and absolutely never saw myself in an office environment.

At around 30, I was given a book called From Clinician to Manager about the challenges of making that transition from clinical work to management and the positive impact you can have on more people in a management role.

So I moved initially into clinical management, and then my career developed from there.

What key lessons have you learned along the way?

My key lessons include being honest with yourself; integrity is a very big thing for me and is definitely my guide.

Also to bring kindness and compassion into the workplace, understanding that hard conversations can take place if there is an environment of trust and respect.

Balance is also important – I may not always be great at it personally; however, I do establish my own boundaries and encourage staff to establish their own.

I’m also a values-driven leader and strive to create a positive culture within our workplace. In a happy, supportive working environment, you achieve better results from the people you work with.

I think that as a CEO, you need to build a strong team around you. You don't have to be the expert in all areas, but you must be a leader, to share the vision, build the strategy and give the support which enables people to be their best.

Cheque Presentation 1 24
"My key lessons include being honest with yourself; integrity is a very big thing for me and is definitely my guide."

What is the most satisfying part of your job as CEO of the Women's & Children's Hospital Foundation?

This is my 50th year in the healthcare industry.

Most people work for four decades, and this is my fifth – imagine that!

I've had a career in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, and the privilege of this job as CEO of the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation (WCHF) is that it's very diverse.

You meet so many people from all sectors of the community and it’s all about people for me; it's about building relationships.

Like the Women’s and Children’s Health Network, the WCH Foundation has grown to have an impact statewide, partnering to create healthier futures for women, children and their families.

If you could wave a magic wand, what would be the one thing you would change to improve the wellbeing of women and children?

Equity and access to healthcare close to home.

Women and children are part of a family unit, and just caring for each of them individually is not going to make the change that is required.

Being there for that whole family to enable them to support each other and get wider support when they need it will create better health and wellbeing outcomes in the long term.

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