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Leadership perspectives on healthcare workforce challenges

More than 100 healthcare management leaders, researchers and students will come together for a special ‘think tank’ at Deakin University this week to discuss Australia’s healthcare workforce challenges and potential solutions.

It’s the first of what’s hoped to be an annual symposium led by Deakin’s Healthcare Management Program, a joint initiative of Deakin Business School and School of Medicine.

Health leaders joining the symposium include Barwon Health CEO Frances Diver, Eastern Health Executive Director Learning and Teaching Professor Leanne Boyd and Australian College of Nursing CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward.

Symposium co-convenor Dr Margaret Way said the COVID pandemic had challenged the way healthcare was delivered worldwide and as the pandemic continued, traditional models of care delivery were struggling to meet demands.

“This symposium will generate important collaborative sector discussion, not just about how we can attract staff, but also how to build our current workforce’s capacity and capability,” Dr Way said.

“It’s important for us to listen to industry about how providers have addressed the problems being faced across the board, so we can learn from each other. For the students in our healthcare management program, it’s about making connections and engaging with peers across the industry so they can be part of building practical solutions for workforce shortages.”

Deakin’s healthcare management program includes a specialised MBA, a graduate certificate program, as well as a range of stackable units, all aimed at equipping healthcare managers with a wider complement of skills to tackle big problems.

The symposium will feature presentations from health leaders with different perspectives in meeting the needs of a stressed workforce, including those involved in policy and planning, health service delivery, professional bodies and education.

Speaker details

  • Barwon Health CEO Frances Diver will present on the current challenges faced in healthcare from an executive level.
  • Australian College of Nursing CEO Adjunct Professor Kylie Ward will speak on nursing workforce retention, the government’s HECS debt announcement and the importance of nursing leadership.
  • Western Victoria Primary Health Network COO Janelle Jakowenko can speak to rural and regional workforce challenges.
  • Deakin Associate Professor Kate Huggins will present her new report ‘Towards a thriving healthcare workforce’, prepared for the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research. The report examines health workforce wellbeing and outlines solutions to promote the development of a sustainable workforce.
  • Deakin Affiliate Associate Professor Paul Cooper will talk about how new technology can be used to increase the capacity and capability of Australia’s health workforce, and what the sector must learn from recent cyber security attacks.