What are the outcomes of Allied Health leadership?: A thematic analysis of executive level Allied Health Professionals’ narratives

Ms Janice Mckeever1

1Monash Health , Clayton , Australia

Abstract:

Aim:
To investigate the outcomes of effective Allied Health Leadership though the narratives of executive level Allied Health leaders.

Method:
A qualitative thematic analysis approach was taken.  Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine Allied Health Professional (AHP) leaders. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data were thematically analysed and sorted into codes & themes. Six themes and six subthemes were identified. Member checking & completion of a reflective diary were used to ensure trustworthiness & rigor. Secondary sources from government reports, human resource, finance & quality departments were used to assist with triangulation of qualitative results.

Results:
AHP leaders described a number of positive outcomes covering all three domains of client, organisational & employee outcomes  e.g. service redesign, improved governance, funding increases  & mentoring. Barriers and enablers were identified that influenced leadership performance including personal, interpersonal and organisational factors. The unique skills of executive level AHP were viewed as ideally suited to leadership in complex healthcare systems. Suggestions are made for how to utilise these skills to improve outcomes for the entire health service not just the AHP workforce. These will be reported in detail.

Significance of the findings to allied health:
With low representation of AHP in senior leadership positions and the dearth of research on the ‘value add’ of AHP leaders, the thematic results from the interviews are a rich data source documenting the outcomes of AHP leaders. Notwithstanding the barriers to leadership performance, there are strategies that emerging and established AHP leaders can avail of to advocate for & promote their unique skillset as well as meet the operational needs of their organisation.