As the world around us has changed beyond recognition, responses to the Coronavirus pandemic from across the globe have been personal, poetic and poignant. From the innovative ways people are connecting with one another under lockdown, to the heart-warming triumphs of heroes like Captain Tom Moore, the crisis has brought out the best in individuals who have been inspired to find their own path to positivity during this time of crisis.
And as health workers on the frontline continue to fight the virus with incredible bravery, leaders in the industry are not only managing the demands of the present but looking to build a more optimistic post-pandemic future. The key is not simply to solve problems in the here and now, but to inspire hope in the months and years ahead.
This blog takes a look at what makes an inspiring healthcare leader and could help you work out if healthcare management should be your next career move.
What is health leadership?
The defining characteristics of successful healthcare leaders are not dissimilar to those required of leading figures in any other profession. Health leaders must be competent, responsible and passionate, with excellent people skills – the ability to unite teams as well as motivating individuals is crucial.
Healthcare also demands vision from its leaders – they must be able to identify weaknesses and devise overarching strategies to combat these in the long-run. At the same time, they are also faced with the need for quick decision making under pressure. It can be difficult to make these decisions without compromising their vision for progress.
Long-term strategies for change within healthcare are not easy, but with the right leader at the helm, they can be accomplished. In 2019, The Health Foundation examined the successes of NHS trusts awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating by the CQC.
Their findings established that those trusts had succeeded not simply with procedure-focused training and development for staff, but by implementing widespread organisational change with an emphasis on leadership. These trusts worked to develop a more open and communicative culture that utilised management as a tool to empower staff, rather than simply to enforce change.
What can these findings teach us going forward? The current crisis has shown opportunities for change within healthcare – opportunities that leaders are already dealing with as frontline workers combat a multitude of challenges in the present.
But the medical, institutional and global challenges faced prior to the crisis will still be waiting for us on the road to recovery – the question is how healthcare leaders can pioneer change at every level.
How health leaders are inspiring the future
Technology has already impacted on frontline communications in the sector, from telemedicine, to the use of 111 call data to predict demand for resources such as hospital beds, ventilators and staff. Health leaders of the future will be at the helm of developing on these incredible breakthroughs, transforming them into long-term solutions that will maximise the efficiency of communication as well as strengthening the life-changing impact of health services.
On equality, there is yet more work to be done. In March 2020, a Global Health 50/50 report found that there is still a vast gender divide in the field – in fact, they discovered that seven in ten global health leaders are men. It is clear that institutional change is needed, but how can organisations do better in the future?
WomensLift Health, a US organisation which supports and promotes female leadership in healthcare, emphasises the need for visible women in leadership positions to support and inspire other women. Many are already working towards this – this year saw the Healthcare Leadership Academy’s 100 Word Project, in which 100 inspirational leading women in healthcare shared their encouraging words of wisdom.
Health leaders will not only influence their own field, but others’ too – back in May, over 200 health organisations signed a letter to the G20 leaders to urge a green recovery from coronavirus. It seems that governments are already taking note; in Germany, €40bn has now been committed to climate related spending, and it appears that other nations are following suit.
In short, health leaders are already beginning to guide our future, adapting to technology, pioneering equality, and influencing major global change that will impact our daily lives as well as our healthcare.
Studying health leadership
If you have the potential to become an inspiring healthcare leader, our Leadership in Health and Social Care FdSc might be for you.
So why study with us?
With online courses becoming a norm, many institutions are adapting as quickly as possible, but ARU Distance Learning is already an established player in the field. with a fantastic track record in leading distance learning students to success.
While the course is 100% online for the duration, there is support available throughout your education with us, as well as post-graduation support for finding employment in the leadership role you’re destined for.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our exploration of healthcare leadership and management careers – for more motivational content, take a look at the following blogs: