Vic Management Interns' blog

Blog posts by Victorian Management Interns of the Australasian College of Health Service Management. Views are those of the individual authors and not those of ACHSM or management interns’ host organisations or employers.

Tais Lildaree
Tais Lildaree

Health Management Interns, ACHSM

Change is the New Black

Author: Tegan Cotter

Date: 25 Jun 2018

Interesting fact about me - I applied for the Health Management Intern Program (HMIP) five years ago, back in 2013 after finishing my Bachelor of Health Science (Public Health) in Auckland, New Zealand. Long story short, I did not get an interview. On I went, still unsure of what I wanted to do next and was exploring careers in everything from consulting, law, allied health, medicine and nursing.I decided to head down a clinical path completing a Master of Nursing Science at Melbourne University. It was no walk in the park. I was lucky and received a graduate nursing position working in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for my graduate year. Not the easiest area to start in, but I loved the challenge, and I loved my tiny patients. Nursing in intensive care taught me how to keep cool under pressure and juggle competing priorities (This has come in handy during the program!). However, I still yearned for a career in health management and the HMIP was always present in the back of my mind. I knew something was missing, so I decided to apply again.

I remember hurriedly reading these exact intern blogs, trying to take in as much information as I could prior to applying. I wanted to see if I could picture myself doing this, and whether I would enjoy it. Long story short, two interviews later and I’d accepted my place in the two-year health management internship program.

Summary: Listen to your gut. As the saying goes ‘Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.’ - Mary Schmich

Healthcare is Constantly Evolving

The healthcare system is incredibly complex and dynamic. How we provide healthcare is continuously evolving to meet the increasing demand placed on services due to a rapidly growing population, increasing co-morbidities, growing consumer expectations and an ageing population.

As a registered health professional your job is to care for your patient. As a health management intern, your job is to think more broadly about the entire healthcare system. The governance, safety and quality, workforce and financing of the system must be considered. Furthermore, healthcare managers face challenges in terms of balancing access, efficiency, quality, equity, and acceptability when designing, providing and evaluating health services.

The program provides a great deal of exposure to many of these concepts. As interns we attend breakfast forums, professional development sessions and are allocated mentors. We are also very lucky to be heading to Darwin in September for the 2018 Asia Pacific Health Leadership Congress titled “Healthcare Leaders - Intrepid explorers of new frontiers” which I’m sure will be an awesome experience. 

Summary: If you enjoy complex problem solving and thinking at a systems level, healthcare management might be for you.

“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” - Dr. Seuss

I have learnt over the years that I have a love-hate relationship with change. They often say if you’re comfortable, you’re not growing. The HMIP forces you out of your comfort zone and change becomes the new norm.

As part of the HMIP you do four 6-month placements. You work full-time across a diverse mix of public and private hospitals, regional and rural health services, consulting firms and the Department of Health. You also complete a Master of Health Management part-time. I won’t lie, it’s a juggle. But so far, I’m loving the variety and opportunities to learn.

My first placement has been at Western Health in the Women’s and Children’s Division. It’s been great to see the non-clinical side of an area that I’m passionate about. I’ve been able to work on quality & improvement projects, attend the leadership pathway program and lead a consumer consultation project. I’ve met some amazing people doing incredible work in the lead up to opening the brand-new Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital. How cool is that? How often do you get a behind the scenes look at what it takes to open a new hospital? I’ve learnt that immense goals can be achieved when you bring smart, committed people together and demonstrate strong leadership.

At first, 6 months seems like a long time, but it goes so quickly. Just as you start to really settle in, you’re off visiting your next placement location, being briefed on new projects, reading strategic plans and meeting a whole new team of people. All interns complete a regional or rural placement as part of the program. I am up next, making the move to Ararat in July to work at East Grampians Health Service. Of course, being away from loved ones during the work week will be tough. However, I am looking forward to the many new learning opportunities that I will have, and the great people I will meet. I also think it’s important to have a solid understanding of the challenges faced by regional and rural services and what better way to build understanding than through lived experience.

Summary: Change = Discomfort = Growth. Go with it. Trust the process.

So, there you have it, change is a funny thing. Whilst everything is changing and moving rapidly around me, I’m learning a lot, and I’m growing a lot, and I feel like I’m exactly where I am meant to be.

Applications close on Friday 30th June for the 2019 intake of our Health Management Intern Program (HMIP) in NSW and Vic.

To know more and apply, head to the HMIP section of the ACHSM website at here.

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