Governance education sessions provide board members with an introduction to corporate and clinical governance, ensuring that they have a solid understanding of the corporate governance requirements of being an effective board member and consider the principles of clinical governance and how these apply in a healthcare organisation.
The education sessions are designed to facilitate an interactive approach to learning that encourages attendees to participate in the discussions and workshop activities and comfortably raise matters of interest or issues of concern in a supportive environment. This allows individuals to obtain maximum benefit from the sessions as they are able to relate the theory to their own Board experiences.
Sessions can be tailored to suit the governance needs and scale of the organisation from a stand-alone community health service or multipurpose facility to a large public health service or residential aged care facility.
Corporate governance training
Program content is based on best practice principles for good governance and draws on literature from the Department of Health and Human Services, Australian Institute of Company Directors, and the Victorian Public Sector Commission. The training covers board governance in the following areas:
- The health service accountability framework
- The key roles of the board including strategy, finance, risk, compliance, and the governance of service quality
- Board structure
- Individual roles and responsibilities
- Board processes
- Strategy vs operations
- Board decision-making and behaviour
Course material can also be adjusted to suit participants with more board experience who may be interested in a detailed examination of governance and discussion on the effective application of governance in the board environment. This format provides participants with the opportunity to participate in discussion and problem solving relating to their own board experience. This approach is valuable for workshops conducted for an organisation that include board members and senior staff. Sessions are for 3.5 hours; however, shorter programs of two hours with reduced workshop content are available.
Clinical governance training
The program is based on the Safer Care Victoria ‘Delivering high-quality healthcare, Victorian clinical governance framework’ June 2017 and draws on the lessons learnt from ‘Targeting Zero; Supporting the Victorian hospital system to eliminate avoidable harm and strengthen quality of care. Report of the Review of Hospital Safety and Quality Assurance in Victoria’ October 2016.
The training covers the key domains of the clinical governance framework and their application to the health setting. Education material can be adapted to suit participants from a range of health service environments such as hospital, community based health programs or residential aged care. The responsibilities of the board are highlighted and in particular the concept of shared accountability is discussed. The training includes an overview of effective clinical governance systems and their practical application. Features of clinical governance system failure are discussed and the elements essential to achieving high quality care are considered. The session also includes a workshop component using clinical scenarios relevant to the organisation’s model of care.
The program material can be adapted to suit participants with further board experience who may be interested in a more practically orientated discussion on clinical governance that allows them to raise issues pertinent to their own organisation such as data systems, incident reporting and review, effective clinical risk management, and clinician engagement. This approach is particularly valuable in training sessions conducted with a single organisation that include board members and senior staff where the opportunity to address specific issues of concern or areas for improvement can be accommodated. Sessions are generally 3.5 hours; however, shorter programs of two hours with reduced workshop content are available.
Health Board Essentials
Delivered in partnership with the Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA), this program provides participants with a unique insight into the important role board members play in the health system. Health Board Essentials is targeted at: new board members who want to know the fundamentals of being part of a health service board, existing board members who wish to build their knowledge of the fundamentals or focus on a particular essential area, and aspiring or future board members who want to prepare to contribute to the health sector as a board member.
Kerry Stubbings, a board director for Your Community Health and for Yea and District Memorial Hospital, is a past participant in the program. She found Health Board Essentials to be “a very helpful, accessible, and engaging development opportunity for new and experienced board directors”.
Having served as a director of a community health service and a small rural health service for three years, Kerry says she enrolled for the full program of six sessions for several reasons.
“The program certainly provided me with what I was seeking. I appreciated the quality and expertise of the presenters and the resources provided for each topic covering such key areas as clinical governance, risk management, financial statements, and partnering with consumers. Each session provided me with very helpful information and ideas which I have been able to share with my board colleagues.”
The program consists of six online modules which can be completed individually or, ideally, as a full program. Tailored specifically to the governance requirements of the health sector, the modules, each delivered over two hours, cover:
- the Victorian health system
- corporate governance
- risk concepts and context
- clinical governance
- finance fundamentals
- partnering with consumers.
In addition to gaining essential skills during the six sessions, and receiving a Certificate of Completion, people who complete the modules will receive regular updates from the VHA, access to additional programs and resources, and an opportunity to network and learn from their fellow classmates as well as the healthcare leaders delivering the program.
“The program design involved two-hour sessions, online, every two weeks, which made it relatively easy to build into a busy schedule,” Kerry adds. “This also provided the flexibility for people to attend the sessions of most interest to them.
“It was particularly valuable to have the opportunity to engage with experienced practitioners as well as the other participants from across the state. The VHA facilitators established a positive environment for questions, group discussion, and reflections. The program was well designed, informative, and addressed contemporary issues for health service board directors.”