KZN Hospital Managers Possess a Wealth of Managerial Knowledge and Experience
Ms Nonhlakanipho (Nonnie) Mabuza was awarded a Master of Medical Science in Public Health for her study titled: Leadership Development Practices among Public Sector Hospital Managers in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN).
The study focused on public hospital Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and their self-perception of the various management competencies required in the public health sector. It concluded that KZN hospital managers possess a wealth of managerial knowledge and experience.
Resource-constrained public health facilities in South Africa require competent and effective leadership in order to deliver quality health services to the communities they serve. Various leadership development strategies have been implemented in order to capacitate hospital CEOs for their high-level managerial functions.
According to Mabuza: ‘The CEOs in my study believed they have good leadership skills. Over half (58.8%) of the participants held a postgraduate degree. Of all the participants with postgraduate qualifications, 17.6% held a master’s degree as their highest qualification, and 11.8% a doctorate. The rest held different types of postgraduate qualifications. The majority of the participants had been in a senior management post for at least 10 years and none reported having less than two years’ experience as CEO.’
The CEOs who participated in the study felt confident in performing their duties and much of this is due to the National Department of Health implementing Project Khaedu designed as an action learning programme to empower managers, through various processes of learning reinforcement and practice, to bring about change within their own area of operational control. Most of the participants took part in programmes to upskill and also formed networks with senior managers for mentoring purposes. Mabuza found that most of the participants believed they could perform key leadership competencies such as time management, financial management, financial analysis, service delivery innovation, negotiation, strategic capability and leadership, programme and project management, as well as communication. ‘Competencies that fewer CEOs felt confident completing are change management, community engagement, resource management, and being a team player,’ she said.
Mabuza arrived at UKZN as a research assistant funded by the National Research Foundation. She applied for the Master’s in Public Health degree and secured a scholarship from the South African Medical Research Council. In order to supplement her income, she worked as a part-time Clinical Placement Officer within the Physiotherapy Discipline.
Recalling her time at UKZN, Mabuza said: ‘During my first year of work, I remember that our academic leader, Professor Saul Cobbing (supervisor of my study) shared an article on giving and sharing in the workplace; and the importance of being a giver has been continuously highlighted and emphasised in the office. I have seen the staff in this discipline continuously sharing skills and information with others. They always say if one of us shines, the whole discipline shines. I was always valued and encouraged to share input on academic matters. The conversations we had on various life matters have shifted my outlook on life. I now approach it as a braver and more courageous person.’
Mabuza, who was raised in a single parent household, is currently serving a pre-PhD internship within the South African Research Chair: Research on the Health Workforce for Equity and Quality, based at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Words: MaryAnn Francis