The Allied Health and Nursing Education Outreach Program – Reaching Out Across the State

Dr Ruth Nicholls1, Ms Helen  Codman1, Ms Melody Trueman1, Mrs Chrissy Temperley1

1Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, Parkville, Australia


The Allied Health and Nursing Education Outreach Program (AHNEOP) based at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne commenced in mid-2017 with the aim of delivering tailored paediatric education and training to Nurses and Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) across the state of Victoria. This new and innovative program takes professional development out to communities state-wide thereby providing AHPs in regional and rural locations with the opportunity to receive inter-professional training and education within their workplace. Designed according to the learning needs identified by teams, the programs provide a unique opportunity for colleagues to learn and train together.
In 2017, a full day inter-professional education program was developed by expert AHPs from RCH that addressed common themes identified in the education requests received from across the state. The themes related to many of the common challenges faced by AHPs who provide care during the early years of life, including environmental, social and family factors, early detection, red flags and developmental surveillance. This program was attended predominantly by Speech Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists, Social Workers, Dieticians, Maternal and Child Health Nurses and Allied Health Assistants. Within the first few months of launching the AHNEOP, the Allied Health inter-professional education program was delivered to 5 sites and 145 AHPs across Victoria.
Evaluation has been overwhelmingly positive leading to the program being repeated in various locations to maximise availability to regional and rural AHP’s. This outreach model has been a significant change to previous models of education delivery and recommendations for the future will be discussed.


Ruth Nicholls is the Allied Health Clinical Education Lead at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. In this role, Ruth leads and oversees the strategic direction of clinical education for Allied Health staff and students, and collaborates closely with Nursing Education, Medical Education and Workforce Development across the RCH Campus. A Speech Pathologist by background, Ruth has worked across a range of clinical, research and academic settings including public health services, early intervention, education, private practice, research, project management and academia.

Helen Codman is the Manager of the Allied Health and Nursing Education Outreach Program. A paediatric nurse by background, Helen has worked extensively in the Nursing Education team at the Royal Children’s Hospital across a range of settings, predominantly in the clinical area supporting Undergraduate, Graduate and Post Graduate students along with staff new to the area of paediatrics. Helen was a contributing author for the RCH Nursing Competency Framework and is involved in the writing and reviewing of the nursing Clinical Practice Guidelines.