Red River College continues to take a lead role in providing management and leadership education to the health sector in Manitoba, through the delivery of its Health Service Management (HSM) program.
In October 2011, a class of 32 students — all of them employees of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority — successfully completed the program, making for a total of more than 200 HSM graduates over the last 10 years.
The program’s success rate demonstrates the College’s continued commitment to leadership in the health service field, and to providing health sector employees with the knowledge and theory to become effective, proactive managers.
“They are acquiring relevant and applied skills and knowledge relating to management and leadership in health services,” says Jo-Anne Shay, Program Director of RRC’s School of Continuing and Distance Education. “It’s a very applied focus, so these are skills that have been identified by the Canadian College of Health Leaders. That is the foundation of this program.”
The HSM program is open to anyone, but is tailor-made for those already employed in management positions or those aspiring to career advancement within the health sector. The WRHA has built its capacity over the years by sponsoring many of its own employees’ as students, and much of the program’s success can be attributed to the participation of key health care professionals who serve as guest lecturers on a regular basis.
“(The program) really helps you to develop new relationships and to collaborate with people who are either in leadership or want to go into leadership,” says recent grad Catherine Troia, a licensed Occupational Therapist who now works as Manager of Therapeutic Services at Seven Oaks General Hospital.
“It’s a great way to connect with people at other sites who are going through the same challenges and experiencing the same successes.”
In her new position, Troia oversees those working in Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Recreation at Seven Oaks, assisting with hiring practices and performance appraisals, leading departmental meetings each month, and providing general support to staff.
She enrolled in the program shortly after moving into her first management position at the hospital, and was pleased to learn many of the skills she perfected as a health care practitioner could be carried over to the new role.
“A lot what I do involves working with people and providing support to people as they go through their day,” she explains. “Only now, rather than working with patients, I’m supporting the staff — helping them to be successful in their jobs, and looking at what their strengths are and where they can challenge themselves further.”
As with all RRC programming, the Health Services Management course is industry-informed. In 2009-10, the College conducted a review of the program, and as a result, a new 10-course certificate curriculum was developed. The new program provides a more comprehensive approach to meeting the ever-changing needs of the health industry.
More recently, administrators have begun exploring ways to deliver the program elsewhere within and outside of Manitoba.
“As we expand the program, we will be looking for experts in those communities to participate … and talk about relevant issues within their areas,” says Shay. “We want to be drawing on experts within those communities to provide lectures and open forums for discussion to help meet learning outcomes of the program.”