As a medical specialist in the field of pathology, Associate Professor Kerryn Ireland-Jenkin is one of Victoria’s leading experts in women’s health.
After graduating from medicine at the University of Melbourne and completing a hospital residency, Kerryn undertook specialist training in pathology which has led to a long and recognised career.
She currently holds positions at two major Melbourne hospitals: Austin Health, where she works as a gynaecologic pathologist, and The Royal Women’s Hospital where she is the clinical lead for the Victorian Perinatal Autopsy Service.
In 2016, Kerryn added two Deakin postgraduate degrees to her qualifications – a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and a Master of Clinical Leadership (Faculty of Health).
She says that although pathology is a medical speciality, there are many aspects of its program management and service development that are ‘significantly similar’ to other industries and an MBA offered her the opportunity to enhance her management and leadership responsibilities.
‘Combining clinical skills and experience with a business education has helped me to expand my skillset and given me greater confidence about taking on leadership opportunities in healthcare,’ she explains.
With a demanding career and family commitments, Kerryn says she chose to study at Deakin because the university offered a flexible study program which allowed her to choose how and when she wanted to study.
‘I was also attracted to the possibility of combining online study, through CloudDeakin, with live-in residential study units at Waurn Ponds Estate at Deakin’s Geelong campus.’
The other appeal of studying a Deakin MBA was the flexibility in non-core subject selection which she says could be tailored to her specific interests.
‘This gave me the opportunity to study Human Resources Strategy and Change Management, which were both highly relevant to my work.’
Kerryn was able to complete almost half of her MBA subjects as residential study units at the Waurn Ponds Estate – a boutique corporate centre located at Deakin’s Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus.
‘The emphasis on experiential learning – in an experiential setting – enabled deep learning and a strong sense of collegiality. Through Deakin I have now developed a strong network of people I can collaborate with in the future,’ she says.
Kerryn also found the MBA’s assessment tasks to be highly-relevant to the health industry while also providing her with opportunity to study other professional fields.
‘In addition to assignments and presentations, Deakin utilises innovative teaching and assessment methods, including opportunities to present work in a blog or as a movie. Regardless of the form of assessment, I received insightful and constructive feedback that helped me to identify both my strengths and my blindspots,’ she explains.
In additional to her diagnostic medical work, Kerryn undertakes clinical teaching, the development of cancer guidelines and policy development, and pursues an active interest in healthcare service delivery.
She says that one of the major, current challenges in the field of pathology is the rapid pace of technological change.
‘While this is very exciting it also provides many challenges. Molecular pathology is redefining how many diagnoses are made and linking a diagnosis to new, novel therapies. This impacts on every area of a pathology service so a good understanding of strategic management and process management is vital.’
From the onset of her Deakin studies, Kerryn found opportunities to connect her MBA learning to her work environment and discovered there were direct benefits – both personally and professionally.
‘My Deakin qualifications have provided me with skills that I have integrated into my current role but they’ve also opened other doors. Overall, I now bring a different perspective to problem-solving and service development.’