PREPARE for Practice: A statewide Allied Health workforce survey

Dr Belinda Gavaghan1, Ms Liza-Jane McBride1, Professor Lisa Nissen2, Professor  Patsy Yates3, Ms Michelle Rochin2, Mr Peter Buttrum4, Ms Michelle Stute5, Ms Julie  Hulcombe2

1Allied Health Professions’ Office Of Queensland, Clinical Excellence Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 2School of Clinical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, 3School of Nursing, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia, 4Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia, 5Metro North Hospital and Health Service, Brisbane, Australia

Background: Allied health expanded scope of practice roles can assist health services to meet escalating service demands, rising costs and changing community expectations. Recent investment in new allied health models of care have resulted in a confusing array of advanced practice titles, profiles and roles, with corresponding uncertainty as to the scope and level of allied health professional practice. The aim of this study is to investigate patterns of practice activity within and across the allied health professions.

Method: A cross-sectional electronic survey of Queensland Health allied health professionals was undertaken using a modified version of the Advanced Practice Role Delineation tool based on the Strong Model of Advanced Practice. Survey questions explored domains of allied health practice, including clinical management, education, research and leadership. Descriptive analysis was undertaken to explore characteristics of the allied health workforce and scores for individual items and domains. Domain means were calculated within and across health services, allied health practitioner levels and between professional groups.

Results: A sample of 2575 Queensland public sector allied health professionals completed the survey (response rate of 27%). While participation in clinical care activities was consistently high, contribution to education, research and leadership varied considerably across allied health practitioner levels, professional groups and health service areas. However, allied health professionals practicing at an advanced level were identified and delineated front the group based on high scores across all domains of the Strong Model of Advanced Practice.

Discussion: A variety of practice activities and participation in domains of practice were identified within and across allied health professions and geographical areas. Findings will be used to develop targeted strategies to build workforce capacity and capability to enhance contributions to clinical, research and management for all allied health professionals.


Dr Belinda Gavaghan is currently A/Director at the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland. Her research focuses on allied health workforce reform and redesign, and particularly the development, implementation and evaluation of new and innovative models of care that optimise scope of practice for allied health professionals. Belinda has degrees in speech pathology (Hons) and public health. She has over 15 years experience as a speech pathologist in public and private healthcare settings and is a graduate of the NSW Public Health Training Program

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