8 May The role of a health manager during a health crisis – Responding to COVID-19 and leading through uncertainty May 8, 2020By ACHSM Admin challenges, Change, COVID-19, General, health service delivery, public health 0 by Lucy Sutherland 1st Year Management Intern When I commenced the health management internship in 2020, I would never have expected to be involved in one of the largest public health crises to affect the Australian health system. COVID-19 has infected over 2 million people and resulted in 161 000 deaths globally. Our health system has been forced to develop robust pandemic plans and modelling to reflect the overwhelming number of cases predicted. Health leaders have had to be flexible and adaptive due to the nature of the rapidly changing environment. During my placement, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the management side of the pandemic and observed what attributes a health leader must possess to navigate a health crisis. Here are 5 leadership practices that can assist health managers to respond effectively. 1. Provide clarity and expectation of roles Ensure staff are aware of their responsibilities and roles, this leads to better engagement and positive mental state. Provide feedback and provide avenues for better communication at all levels of the organisation. 2. Adaptive leadership Adaptive leadership is to be used in situations without known solutions. It has been described as the ‘practice of mobilising people to tackle tasks through challenges and allowing them to thrive’. The adaptive leader must observe patterns and events, process information and design interventions based on interpretation. 3. Acknowledge concerns It is important to address staff and the community concerns surrounding the crisis and work through potential solutions by sharing information with empathy and optimism. This will ensure anxiety is reduced and stress is better managed by the individual. 4. Communicate effectively Leaders should be open about the evolving nature of the problem and work through possible solutions. Without transparency, people can quickly sense deception if facts aren’t shared. Effective regular communication enhances an employee’s trust with the leadership and the credibility of the organisation as a whole. 5. Understand your own capacity When people are unsure how to behave, they look to leaders as role models. Managers, as role models, must be consistent with their behaviour when they are leading others and understand their own capacity to lead. A manager must be self-aware and have the ability to self-diagnose when factors such as mental health and family life impacts on their ability to lead effectively and efficiently. Related Posts The challenges in providing rural healthcare According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), 75% of the population does not get enough exercise and 69% of the population are considered overweight or obese in rural communities. The role health managers can play in creating culturally safe environments for Aboriginal people The colonisation and historical events that have occurred in Australia have had and continue to have devastating impacts on Aboriginal people. Accessing healthcare can be particularly difficult for our First Nations people due to a deep mistrust and the institutional racism present in most hospitals. National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards and the new Health Manager Ensuring the delivery of safe and high-quality patient care is the responsibility of everyone that work within the health service – including the patient themselves. Introduced in 2013, the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards stipulate the level of care consumers can expect to receive during their episode of care. What is value-based healthcare? Have you ever heard of value-based healthcare? When I was first introduced to the term during my initial days at Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) in January 2019 on my very first placement, I thought it was another one of those ‘word salads’ - I understood each of the individual words, but the whole term made no sense! Learning the A-Z of health service delivery in Victoria As an Australasian College Health Service Management (ACHSM) Victorian intern we get the unique opportunity to work at four different workplaces within the health sector, complete post graduate study and attend a variety of professional development activities over a two-year period. A Call To Arms Kelvin Yap reflects on his learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Victoria. Comments are closed.