Rural generalist training positions: a “how to” guide

Ilsa Nielsen1, Michelle Rothwell2

1A/Director Allied Health, Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland, Department of Health, Queensland Government, Cairns.

2 A/Team Leader, Allied Health Education and Training, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service

Abstract

Introduction

Rural generalist training positions have been successfully trialled in Queensland and are rolling out in other states and territories. This presentation will provide a brief “how to” guide including examples of ways health services have structured and resourced training roles.

Methods/strategy

To be regarded as a rural generalist training position the role will meet the mandatory specifications and support requirements:

  • Minimum 0.1FTE (4 hours) allocated development time
  • Funded enrolment in a formal post-graduate rural generalist education program
  • Profession-specific supervisor:
  • Level 1 training position (graduate): co-located 50% or more work hours
  • Level 2 training position: co-located or remote supervision
  • Service development project implemented in team

Strategies

Health services can use a range of strategies to implement the rural generalist training position specifications and support requirements including:

  • build into business model for new roles and new structures (growth funding),
  • restructure small teams, particularly those with chronic vacancies,
  • utilise funding support available for education to redesign existing early career roles,
  • inter-agency collaboration.

Brief case studies will be discussed.

Conclusion

Consumers’ access to allied health care is dependent on workforce growth, improved distribution, and sustainable models of rural ‘own grown’ workforce development.  Cycles of vacancies and temporary staffing must be addressed to prevent stagnation of service development and resource loss from rural and remote teams.  Health services can capitalise on opportunities presented by workforce turnover, existing and new partnerships and funding bodies to enhance sustainability.