Author: Edward Valenta
Date: 18 April, 2018
Where would I see myself working as a graduate? If you had asked me that question last year, my answer would not have been Long Bay Correctional Centre, working for Justice Health and the Forensic Mental Health Network (Justice Health).
To all the future graduates at university who seek to partake in a graduate program, do not miss the opportunity to apply for the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM) Health Management Intern Program (HMIP). This two-year program provides great exposure to the health industry in Australia and professional and educational development. ACHSM provide ongoing support over the two years and assist with finding a second-year placement if required.
Last year, I was fortunate enough to complete a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in management) and a Bachelor of Laws from UNSW and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from ANU. Why the HMIP you ask? I went through the same process last year, applying for different graduate programs hoping to receive an offer. I was fortunate enough to receive several offers but upon weighing up the pros and cons of each offer, I knew Justice Health was the one.
Justice Health were very kind to offer me a one-year contract that would include undertaking several rotations. Before now, I never knew Justice Health existed. Justice Health is a Statutory Health Corporation within NSW Health that provides health care in a complex environment to people in the adult correctional environment, courts, police cells, juvenile detainees and to individuals within the NSW forensic mental health system and in the community.
It is a very interesting and niche area to work in as you witness health and justice entwined together. Justice Health must work closely with several other State Government Departments including NSW Ministry of Health, Corrective Services NSW, Juvenile Justice, Local Health Districts and the NSW Police Force. Justice Health are very supportive of the HMIP and understand the competencies with which the program is designed to furnish interns. These competencies include experience that aligns with the ACHSM Master Health Service Management Competency Framework, the completion of a Master of Health Service Management and attendance at different professional development days that ACHSM coordinate. For example, Interns attend the annual ACHSM Asia-Pacific Health Leadership Congress which will be held in Darwin this year. Other events throughout the year include breakfast and evening forums, online podcasts and a symposium with a range of well-known guest speakers from the Australian health industry.
I have had experience working in Hospitality and Tourism, Corporate, Legal, Non-For-Profit Organisations and the Government. Each experience has been valuable, learning new skills and the operations of different industries. Thus far, I have extremely enjoyed working for both Federal and State Government. The opportunities and projects that come across your desk are quite unique and can potentially affect a substantial portion of the Australian community. The other benefits working for the Government include a work-life balance and further opportunities to attend internal training workshops and development days.
Whilst reading this, you may be thinking, he has no experience in health? Why would he go into a program that is purely health focused? That is true, this is my first time working within the health industry, and it is another benefit of the HMIP. ACHSM and the participating Health organisations are looking for individuals with diverse backgrounds, not just health. Do not let your past persuade you not to apply for the HMIP.
As mentioned, this program offers an array of opportunities and benefits, but most importantly interns will network with a range of people, from Chief Executives to front line staff. Health is an interesting industry to be working in as it will always be required.. It is a challenging industry because much of the workplace involves working in multidisciplinary teams from doctors, nurses and allied health staff to health managers.
Justice Health prepares a rotation plan for the Intern to ensure they can gain valuable experience and improve their professional skills. This year, I will be fortunate enough to work across different teams including; the Communications Unit, Organisational Development Unit, Clinical Business Unit, Allied Health and Corporate Services. Each rotation will vary between four weeks and twelve weeks.
I have undertaken my rotation within the Communications Unit and Organisational Development Unit. Justice Health is holding their first National Custodial Health Conference at the ICC in Sydney 31 May 2018 – 2 June 2018. I had the opportunity to engage with external stakeholders including interstate Health Departments and their pillar agencies advising them of the Conference. I also undertook a review of the wide range of committees within Justice Health to determine the current governance and reporting structure.
The Organisational Development Unit is responsible for Research and Evaluation, Education and Training and the Practice Development Unit. I have been fortunate enough to take the lead on the next stage of a major project that is in progress. This project relates to the governance of projects throughout Justice Health and involves further developing the Improvement Initiatives Framework, creating a registration process, reporting requirements and online modules. These projects and tasks that I have been assigned have allowed me to gain a better understanding of Justice Health as an organisation, the services provided to patients and further develop my professional skills.
Despite only being with Justice Health for three months, I have attended three site visits, Metropolitan Special Programs Centre Area 1 at Long Bay Correctional Centre, Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre at Silverwater Correctional Centre and Cobham Juvenile Justice. These site visits have provided insight into the day-to-day operations and requirements of the frontline. They have been very eye-opening experiences and I now have a greater desire to improve patient care within all facilities. I will also attend high-level meetings including the Justice Health Board, the subcommittees of the Justice Health Board, interagency meetings and coronial inquests.
It is an experience I recommend embarking on, whether you receive an opportunity to work at Justice Health or another NSW Health organisation. You will not regret the next two years!