“The ‘forgotten graduates’ joining forces to create a supportive community. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

Ms Grace Rus1, Ms Michelle W.  Rutherford1, Ms Emma Davis1, Ms Anne Thompson1

1Eastern Health, Box Hill , Australia

There is significant disparity when comparing Allied Health and Nursing and Midwifery Graduate programs in Victoria.  Victorian Government support for Nursing and Midwifery graduates far outweighs that of their Allied Health counterparts with less than half the financial support being offered. Similarly, health service cultural expectations and support of graduates varies across professional groups.

However, workforce challenges are being experienced by all health care professions.  Support of early career clinicians can reduce attrition and set a strong foundation and sense of professional identity to support the workforce for the future.

A large metropolitan health service in Victoria established an interprofessional Graduate Program in 2020 to leverage existing resources and build a sustainable and equitable program for all professions. The Interprofessional Graduate program recognises the shared challenges for novices in all professions including: transitioning into the new role, navigating the healthcare system, managing clients with complex care needs and time management of caseloads.

The program is offered to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, social work, speech pathology, dietetics, podiatry, psychology, nursing and midwifery. Intakes commence simultaneously and graduates attend orientation, study days, and are offered membership of the Graduate Representative Committee. Allied Health specific professional development and additional supervision is also provided.

The Program is supported by Educators from multiple professions with a collaborative practice approach to study day design, implementation and evaluation. A standardised evaluation survey tool is provided to participants to ensure consistent evaluation. Preliminary data will be presented together with planned long term evaluation strategies using workforce retention data.


Biography:

Grace Rus is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Clinical Educator with the Transition to Practice program at Eastern Health (EH). After obtaining a Masters in Dietetics from Deakin University, Melbourne she worked as a Dietitian across the continuum of health in Metropolitan, Rural and Remote areas across Australia. Grace has a passion for improving reflective practices through supervision and Interprofessional learning which she has incorporated into EH’s graduate programs.

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