Business acumen, clinical leadership and an empowering mindset are the core ingredients to management on the front lines of health, aged, and community care.
At no time has this been truer as it is now. You have just received your budgets. Some got more money, some didn't. The Commonwealth is removing money from the sector over the next few years. There is no doubt that life in this sector is about to get a whole lot harder.
I have a sneaking suspicion that, to date, many organisations in our sector may well have been surviving despite the lack of engagement of their people, and lack of leadership and management acumen on the front line. I call this a misattribution of success. This means that, because hospitals (for example) are core services, and the community has no choice but to frequent them when they need to (there are very few alternative service providers in acute health), and the government is unlikely to let a hospital languish (it is politically risky), then it survives and there is a view that it must be doing something right. Its very existence is taken as success.
But if it is not thriving in this environment, dictating its own terms, responding to consumer demands and attracting great talent, then it may be missing these fundamental ingredients in its management. And with the screws tightening, without these ingredients, it could well flounder - this is when the cracks start showing. And the problem with floundering health and aged care services is that they tend to attract unwanted and distracting attention from government, and even media. And everyone's attention concentrates on the symptoms of the problem (deficits for example) and not the causes.
Given that up to 70% of your people are managed by nurses, it makes sense to develop your nurse manager's:
- Business acumen, so they manage their units like a successful business, making solid business decisions and governing for the future
- Clinical leadership, so they drive evidence-based, high quality care
- Sense of empowerment, so they have the courage and confidence to make autonomous decisions, and enable and empower their staff, fostering person centred care (or in the case of aged care - consumer directed care).
What I have noticed over the years is that as nurses move from novice to expert clinicians, they often get promoted to associate unit manager or even unit manager. And rather than continuing the journey as an expert, they slip back to novice or advance beginner as a manager. And, unless they are mentored, or given the right training, they may well have been promoted to their highest level of incompetence (Peter Principle) and it can take them quite some time to climb the skill ladder again. In the meantime, they often feel threatened, stressed out and struggle to deal with the demands of the job. There is nothing more demotivating than feeling incompetent and lacking confidence in your ability to do the job.
At the Australian Academy of Clinical Leadership, I am really proud to present our newest program: the Diploma of Leadership and Management (BSB51915). This Diploma was designed on the basis of your feedback last year about what the sector needed in their nurse managers. And it is intended to provide the business skills, clinical leadership and empowering mindset to make your managers multipliers.
The team who delivers this program are nurses who have on the ground experience of leading and managing in health, aged and community care, leading small and large scale changes, managing businesses, people and programs. This program is unique because it takes nurses through a nationally recognised Diploma, and applies it to their work context. They draw on the issues they are facing as a manager, and develop solutions that work in practice, improve their organisation as they build their skills and confidence.
If you want to know more, or would like me to come to your organisation to do a brief presentation on the new nurse manager, then get in touch. Click here for the brochure, and please feel free to forward this email to anyone you know in this position.