The value of debriefing Allied Health assistant students.

Lucy Whelan1

1Monash Health, , Australia

Allied Health Assistants (AHAs) are the health workforce of the future, with exponential growth in the training and employment of this profession throughout the health and disability sector. As a result, the appropriate training of Allied Health Assistants is integral to the future Australian health care landscape. Victorian Allied Health Assistants must be qualified with either a Certificate III or Certificate IV qualification in order to be employable as Grade Two or Grade Three AHAS respectively.

Monash Health places over 100 AHA students per calendar year and for majority of these students, their 120 hour placement at Monash Health is the hurdle requirement they need to complete in order to be awarded their certificate qualification and seek employment in the industry.

Aim: To assist AHA students in job-readiness skills prior to the end of their clinical placement, in partnership with the registered training providers with which we partner.

Method: A 90 minute debrief session was introduced at the midway point with the AHA Advisor.The debrief session sought to be a forum for debriefing, sharing learnings, discussing job readiness and a time for students to question what a large health network looks for when recruiting AHA staff.

Results: Of four debrief sessions held in 2018, overall satisfaction was scored over 8/10 in 90% of cases with reasons for such being “great to see my peers and debrief with them”, “great to have an experienced educator in the room”, “great to have reassurance that I’m not alone”, “great to hear other’s experiences”, ”understanding the skills I need to work on to be job-ready”.

Future: Work is taking place to understand how many AHA students go on to be employed at Monash Health. Once this is understood, it would be worthwhile to evaluate how job-ready these candidates felt and what factors assisted in this.


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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