A case study experience exploring leadership strategies that can improve frontline allied health professionals’ perceptions of workplace well-being and patient quality outcomes

Ms Gemma Turato1, Dr John Whiteoak2, Dr Florin Oprescu2

1Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, Birtinya, Australia, 2University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Australia

This presentation will outline the findings from an exploratory case study that set out to identify leadership strategies and drivers that can assist frontline Allied Health Managers improve workplace morale. Qualitative data was collected from 1-1 interviews from 20 allied health front line managers in a tertiary hospital and health service in Queensland, Australia. Further data was collected using focus groups, involving executive (n=7), and senior leaders (n=10) working in the organisation to gain their thoughts and perspectives from the allied health participants findings. Finally, three confirmatory focus groups (n=10 in each) were conducted with allied health front line managers. A thematic methodology was employed in conjunction with a content analysis protocol involving the software program Leximancer. The key findings include the detrimental impacts that unsupportive leadership and systems have on morale. The results also demonstrated that when frontline managers are provided with autonomy to make appropriate decisions this will positively influence job morale. The findings exposed a disconnect between the different levels of management and the impacts on morale. This study provides further evidence of the importance of experiencing support from leadership and specifically adds to the current literature by identifying the unique underlying processes and perceptions that are connected to positive morale in the allied health arena. Furthermore, the findings suggest that without empathy, and trust in leadership, low job morale will be difficult to improve and this can have a range of ongoing negative implications for organisational effectiveness. Recommendations for leaders will be articulated in the presentation.

Acknowledgements: The author wishes to thank the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive (Associate Professor Naomi Dwyer) for approving executive, senior and allied health managers participation in this research, the information has been invaluable for future planning.


Worked in healthcare for over 30 years, in both clinical and management roles, her passion was in management, taking on senior management roles in allied health over the past 10 years, with the past 3 working as the Executive Director of Allied Health at the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service. Now in the final stages of her PhD, she is starting to share some of the findings.

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