Multi-professional environments. Patient-centred focus. Flexible leadership.
This is Dr Lesley Barclay's vision for Territory health services.
‘The university itself needs to be customer-focused, working with other relevant sectors to turn out post-graduate health professionals capable of offering leadership in their field,’ adds Dr Barclay, Chair of Health Service Development within the university’s new Graduate School of Health Practice.
‘If our health graduates are to have a patient-centred focus, it makes sense that we constantly look to improve our student-centred focus,’ said Dr Barclay. ‘Our “products” are not courses — they are satisfied health professionals who are confident, competent, flexible and intellectually satisfied.’
Last week the NT Minister for Health, Dr Peter Toyne, officially launched the Graduate School of Health Practice –– a partnership of government, academics and other health experts. The diverse stakeholder interests demonstrate a strong investment in Australia’s public health.
Post-graduate programs are also strongly subscribed by external students who visit Darwin twice a year for a week’s intensive study block. Although the majority of learning material is provided through specially designed external packages, staff support includes regular visits to students working in Territory hospitals.
Expert clinicians, who also receive special training in mentorship and preceptoring (supervising junior staff), supervise student studies in the Katherine, Alice Springs and Darwin hospitals.
Dr Barclay said a range of learning options means students in health leadership and specialty post-graduate courses have on-the-spot opportunities to advance their careers.
‘These are nationally accredited and recognised Graduate Diploma and Masters courses, specifically responding to urgent needs from the health industry, and particularly here within the Territory. We have also introduced doctoral supervision locally and six candidates are already enrolled.’
‘For health professionals, additional qualifications will lead to widening professional horizons, including international opportunities, and challenging work in remote communities,’ she said. ‘These graduates will be able to look forward to speedy career advancement as they become more versatile in identified areas of high demand.’
In the next 12 months, the new Graduate School will expand its range of courses, with particular focus on child health, Indigenous health, acute care, and allied health and social welfare areas.