Developing allied health leaders to enhance person-centred healthcare

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Health Organization and Management, 2018, 32 (7), pp. 908 - 932
Issue Date:
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© 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present findings from a mixed methods study investigating leadership development of allied health practitioners within a large public healthcare organization in Australia. Design/methodology/approach: The South Eastern Sydney Local Health District Allied Health Leadership Development Program was undertaken with an allied health cohort (n=16) between May 2014 and March 2015 and comprised all-day workshops, action learning sets and individual coaching. Using experiential learning, the program tested whether practice development methods and action learning approaches developed the leadership skills of participants compared with a control group (n=17). Descriptive statistics were collected to evaluate participant and program outcomes. Leadership, workplace culture and engagement measures were analyzed as part of the study. Findings: The Allied Health Leadership Development Program received high ratings by participants. They reported enhanced skills in leading self and others through mechanisms such as critical reflection and facilitation, and greater confidence managing change and with engaging staff, colleagues and patients in decision making, affecting the quality and safety of healthcare. Statistically significant differences were found with transformational leadership elements, leadership outcomes, and measures of workplace culture and engagement after program completion for intervention group participants, compared with the control group. Research limitations/implications: Results provide new empirical evidence about the effectiveness of using practice development for allied health leadership development. Practical implications: This low-cost leadership program can be replicated by other organizations. Originality/value: Outcomes from an Allied Health Leadership Development Program have not been previously reported in the literature.
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