To examine the importance of appropriate education for health services managers and to identify what might be included in the curriculum for health services management education.
The paper approaches these two questions through an exploration of the distinctive characteristics of health services as a context for management, relating these to a less context‐specific literature on management education. The case for health services management and a description of the ideal curriculum are both developed from this analysis. The analysis is based on the UK but much of it will be applicable to other national settings.
Health services as a context for management practice are made distinctive by the circumstances of working in close proximity to clinical professionals and dominance of evidence‐based practice as a paradigm for the clinical professions. Professionalism is weak as a governing concept for managers and health is often a politicised context for management, especially in publicly owned systems like the UK National Health Service. Management education for health services managers is important for improving systems performance and should offer a broad curriculum that includes the context for practice; research awareness and skills of critical appraisal; a grounding in a range of disciplines and a reflective approach towards general management skills.
Greater value should be attached to health services management education and a systematic approach taken towards curriculum development.
The analysis presented leads to the conclusion that health services management requires a broad curriculum reflecting the rich experience that health services management can offer as an occupation. As the power and influence of managers and managerialism in health care continues to grow, so it becomes all the more important that what is required for their education is questioned and value attached to providing opportunities for that education.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited