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The hybrid manager

One reason for clinicians taking on management roles and the increasing integration of ‘hybrid’ managers in health services is to strengthen governanc
© Griffith University

Hybrid managers were introduced to health services to provide clinical leadership and strengthen governance.

So who is the hybrid manager?

The hybrid manager is the term used to refer to a ‘professional engaged in managing professional work, professional colleagues, and other staff’ Fitzgerald and Ferlie and Montgomery cited in McGivern et al 2015.

The following are the traits of successful hybrid managers:

  • The are respected both as clinicians and managers.
  • They are adept and able to communicate clinical priorities to teams across the organisation, to senior management and to external bodies.
  • They work with other teams and departments to coordinate and organise the care that is required.
  • An everyday part of their role is advocating and persuading organisational leaders to support and fund new initiatives, technologies and medicine.
  • The hybrid manager has the skills and expertise to ensure that crucial information is shared with family, care providers in the community or aged care sectors so that ongoing management continues and treatment plans adhered to so that health is restored.

Clinicians as hybrid managers

Clinicians are educated and trained to learn the skills and acquire the knowledge required for their healthcare roles. On graduation, they are skilled to perform their clinical roles. Once they start working in healthcare settings, these workers will gain further advanced and specialised practitioner capabilities. Along with their advanced clinical roles, they gain knowledge and skills in managing teams and performing other human resources duties. Clinicians can play important roles as health service managers and leaders, but what does this mean in practice?

In the previous step we learned that ‘hybrid’ managers have unique skills to contribute to the management of health services. Clinical and management skills can be seen as complementary. Managers with clinical and professional backgrounds play a vital role in clinical safety and quality and in the selection and management of human resources (Coeira and Denis, 2016). They listen to the voice of those being cared for and ensure that families are also heard. Most commonly, we interact with health services when we are at our most vulnerable or frail. Consider the elderly resident of an aged care home or an elderly person presenting to the Emergency Department after a fall. Managers with clinical experience understand the needs of the patient and can lead others in the delivery of safe, caring and high quality health services expected.

Many large health care organisations are giving greater accountability and responsibility to clinical managers to ensure that the allocation of resources and decisions are driven by clinical priorities. This type of organisational structure is sometimes referred to as clinical directorates or devolution. Placing clinicians front and centre of decision making is intended to improve the safety and quality of healthcare and to strengthen clinical governance.


Coeira T.,and Denis, J. (2016). Hybrid management, organizational configuration, and medical professionalism: evidence from the establishment of a clinical directorate in Portugal, BMC Health Services Research. Retrieved from:

Currie, G. and Croft, C. (2015). Examining hybrid nurse managers as a case of identity transition in healthcare: developing a balanced research agenda. Work Employment and Society, 29 (5), 855-865. DOI: 10.1177/0950017015572581

© Griffith University
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