School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Are you an effective healthcare leader? Take the test in UNSW’s new MOOC

Image - Are you an effective healthcare leader? Take the test in UNSW’s new MOOC

A tool that allows healthcare workers to self-assess their leadership competencies is just one of the elements of the world’s first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in health leadership starting at UNSW in October.

Taught by leading UNSW academics the course will provide free, worldwide access to the latest research, opinions and industry leaders who will discuss the delivery of safe, high quality healthcare through effective leadership.

UNSW Medicine will launch the world’s first Health Leadership MOOC on 19 October 2015.

Co-convenor of the course, Associate Professor Joanne Travaglia from UNSW’s School of Public Health and Community Medicine, says healthcare leadership is arguably more complex than most other industries because the work involves individuals and communities at their most vulnerable.

“You are working in a space where the decisions you take can literally result in life or death outcomes,” says Associate Professor Travaglia.

“Effective health leadership is also vital in the face of increasing challenges in the healthcare industry including resource constraints, changing demographics, big increases in chronic and complex disease and workforce shortages.”

The course will ask such questions including: what it means to be a leader in the context of healthcare, how is healthcare leadership different from other industries and what are the particular skills and attitudes leaders need to have to navigate the complexity of healthcare leadership.

Associate Professor Travaglia says the course also includes time for students to reflect personally, an essential skill of leadership, on what they have learnt in order to better develop as leaders.

“We have deliberately kept the balance so that much of the learning is not about stuffing people full of information. Information does not make good leaders, reflective practice does,” she says.

“The ability to practice leadership from a critical, analytical and reflective viewpoint is a key skill we want people to take away. We want to help people think about their own abilities as a leader, but more than that we want to give them the space to think about the ethical issues, including questions of the equity and justice of healthcare provision for vulnerable populations, that must make up part of that process of reflection.”

At last count 14,580 students from 189 countries, including 35% of participants from emerging economies, had enrolled in the MOOC. The course begins on 19 October 2015.

Visit the website to find out more or watch a teaser video here