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Royal Commission Drives Aged Care Sector’s Niche Need for Clinical Governance Professionals 

Significant transformation is afoot in the aged care sector in Australia. This is driven by the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and the implementation of new legislation. Amongst other things, these changes have brought clinical governance to the forefront, highlighting the need for skilled professionals to ensure high standards of care and compliance. By exploring the increasing demand for clinical governance experts, this blog outlines the challenges in recruiting these professionals, and the strategic approaches necessary to meet this demand. 

The Royal Commission’s Impact on Clinical Governance 

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, concluded in February 2021, laid bare systemic issues within the sector, including inadequate funding, poor governance, a lack of appropriate clinical governance and L&D development respectively, wide-spread. The Commission’s final report, “Care, Dignity and Respect,” made 148 recommendations, many of which emphasise the importance of clinical governance and quality care. One significant recommendation is for aged care organisations to employ a clinical governance expert on their boards, either in a paid or unpaid capacity. 

The need for expertise in clinical governance underpins this recommendation, seeking to ensure the delivery of high-quality care within aged care organisations. 

Legislative Changes Spark New Requirements 

In response to the Royal Commission’s findings, the Australian Government introduced the Aged Care and Other Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Response No. 1) Act, 2021. This legislation underscores the need for robust clinical governance frameworks within aged care facilities. As a result, aged care providers are now required to employ clinical governance and compliance experts more than ever before, shifting aims to enhance the quality of care and ensure compliance with new regulatory standards​​. We have had a significant spike in requests for us to recruit these exact positions at both a middle management and executive level. 

The Talent Shortage Challenge 

The increased demand for clinical governance professionals has highlighted a significant talent shortage within the aged care sector. Professionals with aged care experience at all levels—from junior roles to board members—are in short supply. Remuneration expectations are driven up by this scarcity in comparison to previous years, rendering it challenging for organisations to attract and retain top talent. Furthermore, many professionals are content in their current roles and show minimal appetite for moving, causing the market to become stagnant. 

The Narrowing Talent Pool 

The requirement for clinical governance professionals to be certified registered nurses (RNs) further narrows the talent pool. This stringent criterion most aged care organisations require in leadership positions ensures that candidates have the necessary clinical expertise, yet limits the number of eligible professionals. Consequently, aged care organisations are seeking to recruit from parallel or related industries to fill these critical roles. 

Strategic Recruitment Approaches 

Given the current talent shortage, aged care providers must adopt strategic recruitment approaches to secure the necessary clinical governance expertise. Leveraging the services of experienced aged care recruitment agencies is essential. We possess the industry knowledge and extensive networks needed to identify and attract suitable candidates, from both directly relevant and related sectors. 

The Role of Aged Care Recruitment Agencies 

Aged care recruitment agencies, such as PJ Recruitment & Executive Search, play a pivotal role in navigating the current market challenges. With over 15 years of experience in the aged care sector, P.J. excels in sourcing, recruiting, and placing visionary leaders and accomplished managers into roles they may not have considered previously. Our personalised approach ensures that candidates are not only qualified, but also align with the organisational culture and values of their clients. Our expertise also spans to influencing clients to look further afield than simply just the existing aged care talent pool. 

Addressing the Talent Gap 

To address the talent gap, aged care recruitment agencies employ several strategies: 

  • Extensive Networks: Leveraging their wide-reaching networks to tap into passive candidates who may not be actively seeking new opportunities. For instance, Facility Managers and Regional Managers who are keen to move into pure clinical governance. 
  • Industry Expertise: Utilising their deep understanding of the aged care sector to identify transferable skills from related industries. 
  • Outside the Box Thinking: Thinking outside the box, and having an open mind when looking at a ‘person spec’ for these roles is essential. 
  • Tailored Recruitment: Offering bespoke recruitment solutions that match the specific needs and culture of the hiring organisation. 
  • Candidate Engagement: Building strong relationships with potential candidates to understand their career aspirations and motivations. 

The Future of Aged Care Clinical Governance Recruitment 

As the aged care sector continues to evolve, the demand for clinical governance professionals will remain high. Organisations need to stay proactive in their recruitment efforts, continually adapting to the changing landscape. By partnering with specialised recruitment agencies, aged care providers can navigate the complexities of the current market and secure the talent needed to uphold high standards of care and compliance. 

While the talent shortage presents significant challenges, strategic recruitment approaches and leveraging experienced agencies can directly assist organisations in meeting this demand and ensuring compliance, first and foremost.