Christie Van Beek1, Lauren Heller2
1Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Christie.firstname.lastname@example.org
2Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000, Lauren.email@example.com
Interprofessional graduate support is vital for allied health professionals’ successful transition from student to practitioner and is a key recruitment and retention initiative in rural areas. Low graduate numbers in Victorian rural health services creates a challenge for interprofessional graduate support activities. To address this, in 2015 the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services awarded grants to initiate the formation of cross service support clusters for rural and regional health services. This funding supported the development of systems, processes, and agreements between services to deliver improved support for allied health graduates.
Each cluster led the design, development and delivery of a program to support their allied health graduates based on the specific needs identified. Program evaluation was undertaken using a multi series case design. Preliminary data regarding program design, reach and impact was collected and will be analysed for all clusters, and quantitative data from each individual program evaluation has been reported for further summary into to broad themes for discussion.
14 clusters were successfully created involving over 64 health services including small rural hospitals, private health, community, specialist education, and disability services. Each cluster approached graduate transition support and interprofessional programs in a way that suited local needs.
This program demonstrates the success of creating geographically based clusters across multiple health sectors and services to enable interprofessional allied health graduate learning opportunities, supportive peer networks, and create economies of scale for small and regional health services to provide essential graduate support.
Christie Van Beek has a clinical background as a speech pathologist who has worked across a variety of different health settings in Australia and the UK. Christie made the move to government in 2014 due to her passion for policy and program development, and her desire to improve the profile of, and advocacy for, allied health in the Victorian health system.