What’s does the future of Aged Care Management look like?
There seems increasingly to be a move away from traditional clinically qualified managers in hospital management jobs, to more of a focus on a business management model.
Traditionally the role of Hospital / Rest Home Manager in New Zealand would be held by a Registered Nurse- often someone who had worked their way up through the ranks, into a position of seniority, eventually running the site. With responsibility for everything from overseeing maintenance, staffing, occupancy levels, meeting Ministry of Health requirements and audit standards, to clinical oversight and ‘sign-off’, it was deemed essential for the Manager to hold nursing registration. This also assisted in making up the numbers of registered staff on site, counting the Manager as one more registered staff member, in terms of MOH compliance.
However with increasing competition, and the plethora of glossy new facilities popping up, offering the entire suite of residential services from independent living through to hospital, rest home and dementia level care, the demise of the small independently owned and operated rest home, and the increasing demand on services, it is becoming imperative to be at the top of your game to remain competitive. The retirement business is very much a commercial enterprise now, requiring astute business operators to manage their hospitals and retirement villages.
As a result, more organisations are looking to a strictly commercial model when selecting candidates for Hospital Management jobs. More and more of Medcall’s clients are happy to consider applicants from other sectors, although most still prefer some kind of health qualification or experience in that sector if possible. Hotel management experience is frequently cited as a preference, as there are a number of transferrable skills from the Hospitality sector which can translate into healthcare management.
These include management of multiple service delivery teams (clinical, catering / kitchen, maintenance, administration) in-depth financial expertise, excellent customer service and people management skills, and appreciation of the importance of sales / occupancy.
Several clients have successfully appointed candidates from this and similar sectors into their Health Management jobs, and whilst it has required initial support, they have found this a positive move.
Given the limited size of New Zealand’s health sector, and the aged care sector even smaller again, we run the risk of continuing to recirculate the existing pool of candidates around the sector– albeit many highly experienced and amazing people! There is a need to rethink how we staff our residential aged care facilities and attract new blood / fresh perspective into the sector.
Should we be looking to make the aged care sector more attractive as a long term option for younger career-minded nurses? Should we be offering a greater number of management courses to those people, to build capacity and capability in the long term?
Or…can we afford to think outside the square and tap into new potential from parallel sectors? Will that enable us to source the expertise in management that we need to run our retirement complexes safely?
It does mean there is an increasing responsibility of care on our Clinical Nurse Managers / Leaders, who then assume responsibility for the whole site (which previously fell to the Manager)- this can have implications for Clinical Managers and their own clinical registration, and so needs to be recognised and remunerated accordingly.
However, with the aged care sector a booming industry set to continue to grow with the pending influx of baby boomers, it is imperative that we start to think outside the square and develop contingency plans while we still have time on our side!
To see the many aged care jobs for Managers we have available all around NZ, check out the jobs page on our website: www.medcall.co.nz/jobs