Allison Ballard


The relative infancy of the emergent professionalism of pre-hospital practitioners brings with it an interesting dilemma - how to best manage professional staff in order to achieve optimal work performance, motivation, commitment to ongoing professional development, and staff recruitment and retention.

These are not new issues - they are longstanding universal issues confronting all organizations, regardless of organisational size, structure and function - and quite independent of whether the organisation is a private sector or government business.

Organizations may survive, but they are unlikely to achieve ongoing corporate success, or best practice, without optimal management of what is widely recognised to be an organization's most important "resource" - that is, its people.

Furthermore organizations that do not manage their staff appropriately may foster a culture in which staff "work-to-rule" and search out opportunities to undermine management rather than using their energy to make a positive corporate contribution. Forms of deliberate sabotage can become the norm, accepted, albeit often reluctantly, by employees who, as a general rule would much prefer to focus on the effective delivery of their core business

While there are many ways of managing people - some good, some bad - managing people to foster morale and motivation, to promote commitment to both work and the organisation, and indeed managing to retain staff should be a primary organisational goal. It is much more cost-effective to develop peak performance in, and retain existing staff, than it is to recruit and train new staff!

The managers of professionals face additional challenges