Challenges and Experiences
Edited by Adrian Wilkinson, Donald Hislop and Christine Coupland
Chapter 12: The emergence of new kinds of professional work within the health sector
In this chapter we examine a number of emerging professions within the health industry. Discoveries and research in biomedical and bioscience are impacting on traditional roles and responsibilities in developed and developing healthcare systems. Advances and availability of technology (technology in its widest sense, including biomedical equipment, drug therapies, information technology) and models of service delivery (such as interprofessional team working and tele-health) affect the way care is provided, what skills are required to deliver this safely and what healthcare options are available to the community. Health professional groups have proliferated in number and fragmented into numerous speciality groups as the knowledge base has rapidly expanded (Brock et al., 2014). The result of this is an overly complex system, characterized by numerous craft groups, multi-professional teams, specialist tribes (Weller et al., 2014), a variety of regulatory authorities and an ever-increasing range of prerequisite education, training and development. Using a number of case examples, we explore emerging roles in healthcare and consider the benefits and disadvantages of current workforce trends, and the impact on management and human resource roles. Globally, healthcare and the health workforce are a high priority for government policy-makers. The size and complexity of the health workforce drives the need for clinical effectiveness and efficiency. In Australia, healthcare and social services employ more people than any other industry.
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