Staff profiles

Chris Sorensen
Lead Clinical Governance Advisor

Starting with us in 1979 as a nurse, these days Chris works within Hospital & Specialist Services and clinical areas, with specific portfolios – Incident and Complaints Management, Privacy Officer, and Acute Mental Health and Addictions.

What does your role involve?
I work in partnership with TDHB Hospital Services to support them towards continuous improvement and the management of risk towards patient safety and quality care. I assist and support staff to identify any opportunities for improvement. I support staff involved with the management of serious and sentinel events, consumer feedback/complaints/information release and Privacy, always aiming to ensure the outcomes are patient and whānau centred. I support staff towards turning their patients’ safety and quality data into information about the services they provide and together we can use it to maintain or improve our services.

Tell us about your team
My office is based in the Clinical Governance Support Unit. I have a fantastic team to work alongside including five clinical governance advisors, a risk advisor, medication management advisor, consumer engagement advisor, project manager, emergency management coordinator, sustainability lead and the Health & Safety Team.

Are you working on any special projects?
I’m currently concentrating on our compliance with the New Privacy Act 2020 (which came into force 1 Dec 2020) to ensure our policies and procedures are current and applicable to support compliance with the new act. I’m also working on the Management of Consumer Feedback Policy and Procedure.

How did you get to this point in your career?
In the late 70s I trained as an enrolled nurse at Taranaki District Health Board’s School of Nursing. After a few years nursing, some travel overseas, having children and completing an Early Childcare qualification I returned to TDHB. I was very fortunate to be supported by TDHB to complete the EN to RN Bridging Programme at WITT and I then went on to complete my Bachelor Of Nursing Degree in 1996.

After working as a registered nurse, I moved to the Coordinator of Medical Records and Coding role for eight years and led the massive medical records project integrating and digitising files across Taranaki’s hospitals. I also completed a Health Information Management & Coding qualification to support this role, and it was my biggest learning curve ever in regards to how we create and maintain our records at TDHB. I still use this learning today.

In 2006, I went to Mental Health & Addiction Service as the quality and risk manager and found my passion. I continue to learn so much and although I’ve had several titles, role and responsibility changes within the service over the last 14 years, I remain working closely alongside this team in my current role.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The diversity of my role, and the teams I work with in Mental Health & Addictions Service and the Clinical Governance Support Unit. I love having the opportunity and ability to liaise, communicate and partner with staff, patients and their whānau.

What inspires you to keep doing your work?
The challenge of learning how departments work, seeing ideas turn into an improvement and initiatives led by the teams who do the work. I’m inspired by being part of TDHB’s culture change towards sharing the responsibility and accountability of providing quality and safe patient care for all.  

In 2015, I was supported to complete the IHI/Health Quality & Safety Commission Clinical Governance Advisor Training facilitated by Ko Awatea. That’s when the light really went on about the utmost importance of co-designing services with staff and patients alike, regarding what we want and how we need to do it.

We cannot force someone to hear a message they are not ready to receive but we must never underestimate the power of planting a seed.”

Any big plans or dreams?
I need to enjoy my work, be part of great teams and continue to have my health and ability to further explore New Zealand in our newly purchased off-road caravan.

What do you like to do outside of work?
Anything creative, gardening, dragon boat paddling, holidays, cruising in our VW’s, spending time with friends and family and being with my beautiful granddaughters.


Last updated: Wednesday, December 9, 2020

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