The health industry is one of the biggest employers in Australia, but workforce issues tend to focus on the supply of clinicians rather than the need for skilled managers according to the director of studies in health services management at the University of Technology, Sydney.
"With multi-million dollar budgets and a constantly changing environment, the health system needs a supply of skilled managers attuned to its often challenging operational environment," said Richard Baldwin from the UTS Faculty of Nursing Midwifery and Health.
Mr Baldwin said UTS's unique health services management courses have now been revised to "keep pace with the changing health environment" and to ensure they "focus more closely on the skills and knowledge that are required by the industry."
He said the number of strategy-based subjects had been reduced in favour of an increase in skills-based subjects in the Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Master of Health Services Management.
"The core subjects of the courses now include human resource management and managing risk and quality," he said. "We have also added a compulsory subject on legal issues for health services managers and another on understanding accounting data."
Mr Baldwin is Deputy Director of the UTS Centre for Health Services Management, which is a joint initiative with the UTS Faculty of Business. He said that the course changes are based on the expert knowledge of the Centre and the competencies for health services managers published by the Australian College of Health Services Executives (ACHSE), of which he is NSW Branch President.
"We have combined the competencies with our own deep understanding of the directions that health services are going, the pressures managers are under and the new skills managers require in the changing environment of health services."
"Our programs include subjects offered by both the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health and the Faculty of Business. This means that students gain knowledge and insights from health professionals as well as business professionals, which really set our courses apart from the rest. The Graduate Diploma and Masters degrees are both ACHSE accredited.
"The courses make up an articulated suite of programs. Students who complete the Graduate Certificate only need to do one more year part-time to attain the Graduate Diploma, then another year part-time to achieve a Masters.
"Alternatively, they can choose to enrol directly in a Graduate Diploma or Masters without having completed another of our health services management programs.
"The Master of Health Services (Honours) is available to students who want to deepen their knowledge by undertaking research in the area," Mr Baldwin said.