Collaborative Allied Health clinical education

Dr Susan Waller1, Mr Chris O’Brien2, Mrs Karen Macgregor3, Mrs Andrina Mitcham4

1Monash University, Warragul, Australia, 2Bendigo Health Service, Bendigo, Australia, 3Central Gippsland Health, Sale, Australia, 4Mildura Base Hospital, Mildura, Australia

Background: In 2016, the Federal government has funded all University Departments of Rural Health to substantially increase the number of rural placements they facilitate with the objective of addressing the geographic maldistribution of the health workforce. To address this mandate, Monash University established the Rural Nursing and Allied Health (RNAH) Expansion program.

Targets set included 1848 multidisciplinary placement weeks in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with an average placement length of 5 weeks by 2018. Targets have now been set for 2020 at 2000 placements.


  1. Evaluation of strategies to strengthen and develop further allied health student placements and increased clinical educator capacity.
  2. To appoint and support the development of allied health educators in collaboration with regional health services.

Methods: Using surveys and focus groups of health service and university staff to:

  • Scope the barriers and enablers impacting on the future capacity of allied health student placements
  • Understand the barriers and enablers influencing the quality of student placements
  • Identify future priority areas where current capacity of student placements may not meet demand
  • Increase interprofessional student and staff learning and development opportunities

Outcomes: The appointment and ongoing development of allied health educators with adjunct academic appointments within local health services in Bendigo, Central and West Gippsland, and Mildura participating in a university led community of practice in order to deliver on the goals and objectives of the program.

The presentation will report on:

  • Findings of the staff scoping survey and focus group
  • Placement targets achieved and extended placements developed
  • Needs analysis: perceived enablers, barriers and opportunities
  • New interprofessional learning and development programs developed
  • Number and format of interprofessional learning and development sessions delivered (pre and post RNAH)
  • Contribution to programs & interprofessional value to allied health, nursing, & beyond.


Susan is a Senior Lecturer in Monash Rural Health, Monash University. Susan is responsible for nursing and allied student placement support in the MRH footprint, facilitating the interprofessional simulated student clinic at Latrobe Community Health Service and teaching on the Masters of Advanced Healthcare Practice.

Chris O’Brien (B Physiotherapy) is an Allied Health Educator at Bendigo Health in regional Victoria. He has an adjunct appointment with Monash University supporting their Rural Nursing and Allied Health program, which aims to increase the quality and capacity of student placement experiences in Bendigo and the surrounding region.

NAHC Conferences

2007, Hobart (7th NAHC)

2009, Canberra (8th NAHC)

2012, Canberra (9th NAHC)

2013, Brisbane (10th NAHC)

2015, Melbourne (11th NAHC)

2017, Sydney (12th NAHC)

2019, Brisbane (13th NAHC)

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