Teaching Allied Health professionals to delegate – never assume!

Lucy Whelan1

1Monash Health,  Australia

As the Allied Health Assistant (AHA) workforce grows in number and scope of practice, the need to delegate well becomes increasingly important. AHAs are the Allied Health workforce of the future. Delegation is not an element focused on in undergraduate Allied Health professional training. It tends to be assumed knowledge on the part of employers of health professionals and AHAs. But, should it be?

To improve delegation practice between Allied Health Professionals and AHAs across Monash Health.

Alongside many other initiatives for AHA governance, between mid 2016 and mid 2018, delegation training workshops were offered at Monash Health on an ad hoc basis to several groups of staff. These staff groups were either new to delegating (graduate groups) or new to having an AHA (where a new AHA role had been introduced within a program) or where there had been large transition of staff in a department.

These workshops were offered as an interactive learning experience with a view to the following learning objectives:

  • Define delegation and describe examples of appropriate delegation in a health care professional team
  • Identify the limits to scope of practice of an AHA working at Monash Health


  • Over twenty workshops have been delivered in the two year window with the following results as per evaluation.
  • 100% of participants report the session to be relevant to their learning needs.
  • 100% of participants report learning outcomes were clear.
  • 75% strongly agree or agree that they had acquired new skills as a result of the training.
  • 100% were able to identify professional practice scenarios where they would apply the learning gained from the session.

It appears delegation training is useful to teams working together in better utilising their AHAs. More extensive evaluation may better identify barriers to delegation and allow the training workshops to target these specifically. Ideally, longer term evaluation of change in delegation practice would evidence the need to formalise this training for all Allied Health Professionals and Allied Health Assistants working together in order to further the capacity for delegation time efficiency, culminating in better patient care.


Lucy Whelan is a Physiotherapist by background with a Masters Degree in Public Health and a career spanning over 15 years in Australia and the United Kingdom. She is currently forging the path for the Allied Health Assistant and Support workforce at Monash Health. She is passionate about quality driven improvement and appropriate governance for all. In order to align with their Allied Health colleagues and further expand and grow the roles of Allied Health Assistants, some large pieces of work are underway around Credentialing, Scope of Practice, Clinical Supervision, Professional Development, Referral/Delegation tools, Priority Tools and Students.

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