Management development program developed specifically for remote health service managers

  • Pilot program facilitators and participants, Alice Springs, July 2016

Pilot program facilitators and participants, Alice Springs, July 2016. Photo: CRANAplus.

Leigh-ann Onnis, Marcia Hakendorf & Mark Diamond
James Cook University, CRANAplus & Australasian College of Health Service Management

The Remote Management Program (RMP) is an education and training program for remote health managers developed by CRANAplus in partnership with the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM). The RMP uses an action learning approach to support managers in developing and building on existing skills through a management development program tailored to meet the needs of remote and isolated managers. The impetus for creating the remote management program was recognising that organisational management has a strong influence on the delivery of safe, competent, quality health services. 

The education program comprises: online modules, a two-day intensive workshop, mentoring, and individual support to develop, implement and evaluate a continuous quality improvement (CQI) project in their workplace. The RMP was developed and implemented through consultation with key stakeholders, which resulted in a program that has both a strong foundation, and in-built flexibility to meet the needs of remote managers who work in the diverse landscape of remote Australia. In essence, the RMP is a small, yet significant, step towards providing remote managers with the education, training and support needed to be effective managers in remote and isolated areas. Since the pilot program in 2016, two programs commenced in 2017 (with one almost complete), and another two programs are scheduled for 2018 (see for further information).

In 2017, the collaborative research team of Dr Leigh-ann Onnis (James Cook University), Marcia Hakendorf (CRANAplus) and Mark Diamond (Australasian College of Health Service Management) sought to build research evaluation into the program to examine the impact of education programs, such as the RMP, on remote and isolated health services. The research team recently received seed funding from the Centre for Research Excellence in Integrated Quality Improvement (CRE-IQI) to conduct a feasibility study evaluating the CQI approach for the Remote Management Program’s impact.

With the CRE-IQI seed funding, the research team will engage and build research understanding with partner organisations to identify suitable indicators for measuring impact of this type of education program, as well as investigating the suitability of the RMP for all managers, and exploring where further adaptation may be needed to customise the program to meet the needs of the diverse manager subgroups working in remote and isolated regions. The outcomes from the feasibility study will guide the development of a research design for future research in this area and further customisation of the RMP.

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