NSW Management Interns' Blog

Blog posts by NSW Management Interns of the Australasian College of Health Service management


ACHSM Admin
ACHSM Admin
ACHSM Admin's Blog

The fancy office in the BIG smoke

Author:

Rachael Stephen, Project Officer, Independent Hospital Pricing Authority
1st Year Management Intern

It has now been one year since I committed to change things up from my physiotherapy career and, reflecting back over the past 12 months, I feel extremely grateful for the support I have received from my husband, family, friends, supervisors, colleagues and of course, my fellow interns. 

Although change was always ‘just around the corner’, having worked in eight hospitals in just as many years, I still felt butterflies and doubt about this new chapter.

Would I still be able to strive towards better healthcare for people who are the most vulnerable by pursuing the Health Management Intern Program (HMIP), going back to study, working in this fancy office in the BIG smoke? Instead of running around in my sneakers, doing exercises and feeling the natural happy endorphins, how would I make a positive impact for a person in need when I was sitting behind a desk?  After all, I originally pursued a career in health, in the first instance, because I knew from a very young age that health is invaluable. Health services were there for my brother when he was diagnosed with an intellectual disability, epilepsy and autism spectrum disorder. And again, they were there when my mum had a serious stroke at the tender age of 55 years. Yet, as I worked hard to provide physiotherapy support for my patients and their families, I had the feeling that there was something more that could be done, that I could do, to make it even better than I had experienced before.

Working with the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA), I have learnt to flip from my student hat to my leader hat and back again and put myself out of my comfortable clinical zone. No more familiar clinical ward, constant flow of patients, practice of physiotherapy skills and being the expert and teacher to staff and students. Rather each day has brought a new project, approach or stakeholder interaction. I have been involved in designing a fact sheet explaining hospital funding, met with health managers to participate in a national costing study and contributed to the planning and management of an international conference. I am constantly learning of new ways to apply my skills and experiences to influence and shape the way health services are designed, developed and accessed.

And so, 12 months on, I’m still sitting behind the desk, in the fancy office in the BIG smoke. Although the butterflies still visit from time to time, I have the genuine support of my supervisors and peers and the reward of working for an agency that positively contributes to sustainable health care. If I can possibly repay even a fraction of the support received from my personal and professional networks to pursue this new challenge, I would like to begin by supporting any others that go on before and after me.

Perhaps I can put on my ‘physio hat’ and plan an exercise program for interns to do between all of the work and study involved with the HMIP.

But on a serious note, work-life balance is very, very important! Even during a period of change such as joining the HMIP, joining a new workplace or putting your hand up for a project, it is essential to take care of your physical and mental health so that you can undertake the work in health that cares for others. I’d like to also encourage any readers to embrace change as the constant and know that you have the genuine support of even a stranger if you have the passion to make a change in the health world.

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